I am a dad in lockdown. My daughter Rose is 10 – nearly 11. She will be going to secondary school in September 2020 and I am especially worried about how lockdown will affect her, missing all the special things she would normally do at the end of year six.
I am a keyworker working shifts, which means that the times at which I can have Rose often changes and can’t be a routine. This means that her mum and I have to have good communication, and I have to say that Rose’s mum is very good at changing the days I have Rose to fit in with my work.
When Rose was born, her mum and I were not in a relationship so we had a rocky couple of years, which included going to mediation about nine years ago now. That helped and I have my daughter regularly, including overnight and weekends. We went on holiday last year to Ireland and she came to my thirtieth birthday party and had a great time.
During the build-up to lockdown being announced, I was feeling pretty rubbish because I was having an internal battle with myself. On the one hand, I was worried that the government would announce complete lockdown and I’d not be able to see my daughter. I worried about how I would feel not seeing her and didn’t know how long this would be for. On the other hand, I was resigned to the fact that it may be the right decision for Rose’s health and wellbeing and for her mum’s family, because she has other younger children and her new partner has children, which means that there are potentially six children and three houses to consider.
Then the announcement came from the government and it looked like I wasn’t going to see Rose for some time, and I didn’t know how long that would be. Complete disappointment settled in, but I was confused as the guidelines were not very clear at all.
I kept in constant communication with Rose’s mum, discussing what we should do. We went to mediation when Rose was tiny (about two years old) and I think the things we learned about in mediation helped. I was also looking at every website and update I could find on the internet. Then the next day, the government guidelines became clear and transportation between two households was classified as essential travel and I was massively relieved. “Phew”.
So, I went through a host of emotions in a 24 hour period.
Throughout lockdown, Rose and I have had to find ways to stay in contact using Facetime and phone calls. These have helped keep the contact and maintain the strong relationship that Rose and I have.
Keeping Rose occupied has been a task. We have been doing all sorts of things, including baking, going for long walks, schoolwork sent to my house, family quizzes through Facetime or Zoom – she is better at that than me! Rose likes it best when she sets the questions as it means she is in charge of the call and is a champion at answering Harry Potter questions.
All in all, the coronavirus lockdown has been challenging, but, with the continued support of family and friends (from a social distance), I have been able to negotiate those challenges and now feel optimistic about moving forward to the next stage – my daughter returning to a socially distancing school.