Letter to Sebastian Jaya – Iso Edition

To dear Sebastian Jaya,

It has been a few months since I last sat down to write to you and it’s difficult to comprehend how quickly life has changed in such a short time. This is not the letter I had planned to write to you. I had planned to write and tell you all about starting Kindergarten but that feels like a distant memory to me now.

We suddenly found ourselves thrust on a crazy rollercoaster ride that would turn our lives upside-down, turn the whole world upside-down.

My last letter to you, we’d just returned from holidaying in Vanuatu and it’s so strange for me to think back now … back at Christmas time when we were discussing the idea of a holiday, I remember telling your Dada that it was “now or never”, it felt so over dramatic. I didn’t actually know why I felt that way but I knew in my heart of hearts that if we didn’t go away in January then we would not go away at all this year. I didn’t know why but I just knew. Looking back over the last few months, I am soooo glad we booked that holiday.

Before I tell you what’s been going on, I should acknowledge that you, my little Sebby, started Kindergarten on the 21st January. You were so brave my sweetheart, braver than me. There’s a lot to tell you about our whole Kinder experience but I don’t really want to get into too much detail now, as really it was such a short experience for us. I will tell you that Kinder never felt quite right to me. Many things didn’t feel right. I felt stuck in a system that I wasn’t happy with {but that’s a whole other story!}.

You were so excited on your first day at Kindergarten!

You completed one Term at kinder {mind you with quite a few absences} and we received a glowing first report. So very very proud of you, Sebby, I know it was all a HUGE transition for you {and me!}.

Probably your favourite part of Kinder – the journey – getting the tram.

On the 12th March we had our first parent-teacher meeting with your kinder teacher, it was all raving reviews of how well you had adjusted to a new environment and how willing you were to join in actvities and also initiate conversation and play with other children and teachers. I was so proud of you Sebby. Such a huge achievement for you, my sweetheart.

It was also at this meeting that I voiced my concerns about the newly announced global pandemic of coronavirus – COVID 19, and that I was worried and feeling like it was time to pull you out of kinder. Your teacher may have tried to laugh it off and act like everything was fine but when we left that afternoon, I knew that we would not be back. It was a very difficult decision, Sebby, and I thought long and hard about it but I knew in my gut that it was the right decision for us.

I also knew that when we got home on the 12th March that day and closed our door that life would be different from now on, I had made the conscious decision that we would self isolate from there on in.

A couple of weeks later, I cancelled your kinder enrolment. Another difficult decision for me but health and family will ALWAYS come first to me – protecting you, my little man, will always be my first priority. I wasn’t waiting for some government announcement on closing schools. I made the decision instead, to close the Kinder chapter in our lives.

Almost one week later, social distancing restrictions were put into place and on the 20th March Australian borders closed to all non-residents. In Victoria, schools closed on the 24th March, the Easter holidays brought forward and the advice for Term 2 is; “If you can learn from home, you must learn from home.”

I could finally let out a huge sigh of relief. I had you back at home with me and we were just fine back at home, the two of us, we just slipped straight back into our old flow, and I think in all honesty, we both just felt relief that the whole “Kinder” experience was over and behind us.

Since staying home, you’ve only mentioned Kinder twice and both times you said; “Sebby cried at Kinder” – you don’t miss Kinder at all, Seb, and that has just confirmed in my mind that the best place for you is at home with your Mama.

With self isolating and social distancing restrictions in place, this meant that our weekly visits to see your Gran had to stop and this has been the hardest thing of all for us. You miss your Gran terribly and I know she misses you even more. It breaks my heart that your Gran has been on her own through all of this, especially as we are going through our first year without your Pop-Pop, we are all still grieving his loss and on top of that we now can’t visit your Gran. In a time when we need each other most, when we desperately need hugs, we are prohibited from seeing each other and prohibited from human touch.

We write letters and draw pictures and send them to your Gran, and we FaceTime everyday but it’s not the same. Just yesterday you had tears of frustration saying; “I miss Gran. I miss Pop-Pop. Will Sebby see Gran and Pop-Pop soon?” It breaks my heart Seb, as you must feel like you’ve lost both your grandparents when in actual fact your Gran is at home desperately yearning to see you and hold you again.

Making a Mother’s Day card for Gran.

Precious time together slipping through our fingers and there’s nothing we can do about it, we are stuck at home. It’s hard and some days it makes me cry.

In the first couple of weeks at home we just delved straight back into holiday mode, I just wanted to soak you up and enjoy having you at home full time again. I had missed you so much on your Kinder days. The weather was still warm and we spent everyday {sometimes twice a day!} at the small playground in our street. I felt safe going there as not many people even know it’s there so most days it was just the two of us. I also knew that tighter restrictions were inevitable and I just wanted you to enjoy as much freedom as we could before a possible total lock-down occurred. We really didn’t know what was going to happen.

On the 30th March new Stage 3 restrictions were announced in Vic, which meant all playgrounds, gardens and beaches would be closed. Public gatherings limited to two people {from the previous cap of 10}.

If you can stay at home, you must stay home.

It was then that we had to try to explain to you what was happening. I never really wanted to tell you the reality of what was going on around the whole world. It’s just too scary. But, with playgrounds closed, we had to give you some explanation so we told you there was a virus making many people sick so it was best for us to stay home as much as we can. We are safe at home. You possibly didn’t believe us until one day you saw a playground roped off and a police car patrolling past the playground, so I guess this helped concrete everything in your mind.

Our outdoor exercise then turned to scooter rides around our neighbourhood, finding new places to explore, or down to the beach. You are happy with scooter rides and you’ve gained so much confidence on your scooter.

Albert Park Lake

Some days are good and some days are hard. Some days there are tears and frustrations and some days are slow and full of good stuff. Mostly you’ve been so good with accepting all the changes in your life but you have had a couple of break downs, which is totally understandable, my little man. Tears of frustration; why you can’t visit Gran, or why you can’t get on a tram and go to the city, why you can’t come to the supermarket with me, or why you can’t go and play at the playground. All of your freedom has been taken away from you, my Sebby, and my heart just breaks for you.

The thing that has hit me hard through all of this is gratitude. I am so grateful for so much. I’m grateful we were born and live in Australia and we have fortunately, as it appears, been able to flatten the curve of the virus, we have so far been extremely lucky compared to so many other countries around the world. I’m grateful we have a safe home at this time of self isolation, with everything we need. We have enough money to stock our pantry and fridge with food.

I’m grateful we’ve had your Dada home with us a lot more than usual, you have absolutely loved having more time to play with your Dada. So, this has actually been a special time for us, bunkering down at home the three of us.

I’ve also been thinking about all our adventures overseas, you’ve had four trips overseas in the four years of your life. I’m so very grateful for these adventures, for all the experiences and happy memories. I don’t know when we’ll travel again so I’ll just hold on tight to all the precious memories.

And most of all I am grateful that you are back at home with me, safe at home, my little side-kick. I truly feel so lucky, I felt like I had missed so much time with you last year, and I feel like all that lost time has been given back to us. So grateful for this, Sebby.

Amongst the craziness going on in the world, we celebrated Easter, at home, just the three of us. You were so excited for the Easter Bunny to come and super pumped for the Easter egg hunt, this gave me a happy heart. We missed your Gran, especially on Easter Sunday, it just wasn’t the same without spending it with your Gran. I cooked a roast lunch and the Easter Bunny came with extra presents for you {knowing that we’d be spending a lot more time at home}. It was nice to have some happiness and joy amongst all the sadness and worry.

So here we are at over two months of staying at home, and we are doing okay. You are happy, my Sebby, and that’s all that matters. No one knows what the future holds but as the world has shut down around us, all I know is that my little family is all that matters to me and the small simple things are the BIG things that really matter. Hugs with you, Sebby. Watching the sun rise on a new day. Growing spring onions on the kitchen window sill. Playing games and trains. Cuddles on the couch with tickles and giggles. Story-time with the three of us cuddled up on your bed each night. A pretty sunset framed by our balcony. My heart could not love you anymore, my little sweetheart, and your “hard, heavy, bumpy” hugs are the best medicine, getting me through this difficult time. When life turns stormy and the tides are rough; your Pop-Pop would say; “Stay strong” and so this is what we must do.

We have the whole year ahead of us and I don’t know what that looks like yet but I know that if you are by my side – everything will be okay, Sebby.

Love you so much my little Sebby. Thanks for being the best little iso-buddy ever.

Love always, Mama xxx

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