As a family not being able to visit our favourite places has been hard. For Team Sam, our favourite days out tend to involve woodlands, gardens or other outdoor spaces. Social distancing isn’t often a problem as we prefer the quiet to the chaotic (we have enough of that at home already thank you so very much).
Almost 5 months of pretty much complete isolation, being told how very vulnerable Sam is and how dangerous this virus will be for him, The Outside World is a rather frightening place.
I was surprised at just how bad my anxiety had actually become, and seeing people ignoring social distancing did nothing to help things. Officially shielding in England was paused on 1st August; however, many shielders and their families were starting to gradually reacclimatise themselves to modern life before that point.
Our kids mental, as well as physical, health matters. For Sam, shielding has been tough. He’s missed his friends, teachers, grandparents and other family members. He’s missed going out to his favourite places. He loves being outside, going for walks etc., so after very careful thought we decided that the time had come to venture back out. One of our favourite local attractions had recently reopened and were restricting access to the gardens/lake area to those who were members, you had to book a specific time slot to go in and were asked not to stay longer than around 2 hours to ensure numbers were low and social distancing was observed.
So, on a sunny afternoon and after pre-booking out time slot, we ventured back out into society as a family for the first time in weeks. The sense of freedom at being back there was wonderful, a first taste of normality.
Sam proudly wore his face mask, even though they’re not really needed outside (he’s rather fond of his masks), and the seizures that have blighted his days and nights for months were blessedly absent for a few precious hours as he enjoyed being back in one of his happy places. Most importantly though, people were considerate and followed the new rules. It made for a very happy afternoon out.
Sadly, one look at the news confirms that too many aren’t following the guidance; several countries are experiencing a second wave of covid-19, and local lockdowns are expected or in force in the UK. For shielder’s and their loved ones it’s a very scary time; we’re just venturing back out again and need everyone to follow the rules to keep us all safe. We’re used to keeping our children as safe as possible but having to put our trust in others is proving much more difficult.