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Alternative Me

Does anyone else look at their calendar and wonder if it slipped through a crack from an alternative universe? I look at ours and the events are familiar, they fit our family, but they now feel like they belong to someone else. Another family, in a parallel life.

This week, my eldest teen should have taken her first A level exam. It is up there, on the wall calendar. Her French oral would have already happened, but the date hadn’t been released before the schools closed. Friday was also her last official day at school, after 14 years in formal education. A monumental moment in her life.

As I chopped up a cabbage from the garden for supper and moved the drying homemade pasta, I wondered if our family, in the alternative universe, was going out to celebrate. Maybe a meal out at our favourite pub and raising a glass. I’d have chosen a pint of prawns with chunky bread, with maybe half a pint of local cider. My favourite choice on the menu. I hope the other me enjoyed it. I really do.

Middle teen would have completed her Duke of Edinburgh award, last weekend. She was due to be lolloping across Exmoor, with a rucksack the size of herself, on her final expedition. It was great weather for all three days. I hope her alternative self didn’t suffer too badly from the blisters and had plenty of good tales to tell.

In our reality, we went for a re-energising family walk on the Somerset Levels. Listening to the boom of a bittern and spotting the early dragonflies. It was a boost. It didn’t escape us that both daughters would have missed out on this  particular walk, due to recovering from the DofE walking/camping and exam revising, in the other reality.

Swings and roundabouts, as they say.

We also stopped off for strawberries at a roadside stall. Our usual one was closed. I don’t know why. Maybe our alternative family was more lucky.

Along with the strawberries and cream, I bought asparagus and salmon pink geraniums. Geraniums are my favourite plant and salmon pink ones in particular.  It dates back to the first time I read (*affiliated link)The Little White Horse” by Elizabeth Goudge, which is a far better book than film.

Anyway, I was thrilled to find two plants. Maybe alternative-me missed out, with the other stall being open in her reality.

One good aspect of the lockdown is that we have time for more exercise. Looking back at my calendar, I can see regular activities that had me driving here and there. It cut into the after school slot. Now we take turns booking the hound for walks. I’m serious. He is in hot demand. One member of the family will want to take him on a canicross run, while another will want to take him for a walk at the same time, in another direction. He is pulled in all directions.

One day this week, even he said enough is enough. Humans can walk themselves. Now, if only he could split his duty with the lazing hound in the alternative world, that might help.

He enjoyed the BBQs in the garden, last weekend, but I suspect this other self did too.

The calendar certainly has a way of reminding me of all the events that we are missing out on. The other life. One way or another, these are likely to happen again. Maybe not the end of the school era for eldest. That boat has sailed, but the rest will go ahead later, in one form or another.

The upside is that we are doing other things, which time would have prevented us doing. It is more simple. We are working as a team, but don’t get me wrong, there are definite ups and downs, as a scowling teen will leave you in no doubt about.

Am I sad? No. Not on the whole.

I may envy alternative-me, in many ways, but I also think I have an advantage too. I imagine her tired, rushing around, unaware of how straight forward her life continues to be. Ticking off her to-do list and fitting in with everyone else’s deadlines and dates. While I can take a step back. Control the parts of our lives that I can and let the rest go. I think that is the way probably most of us are dealing with the restrictions. It is what it is.

I do wonder if alternative-me is confused about where her calendar has gone? Or, probably more disconcerting, why she has mine with everything crossed out. Oh heck. What am I talking about? She got the prawns. I don’t feel that sorry.

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12 Responses to Alternative Me

  • Bekah says:

    Oh, I understand completely. In the middle of April, I went through and erased everything off of our family calendar that was being canceled or postponed and added in what we were doing instead. It has been nice to see what we are doing instead of what we are missing out on. We have teen boys, and they have missed out on many things this spring (SATs, Prom, etc). I know missing these things (or postponing) is not tragic, but I still feel for them. I, though, have truly enjoyed the extra time with my guys! Playing board games, helping me in the garden, teaching them new things in the kitchen, it’s been really wonderful. I know that in a couple of short years they will more than likely have moved on to attend college. I’m soaking up this extra time they have at home instead of at school/social activities/work/etc.

    • Craft Mother says:

      Could not agree more. It’s sad to see them missing out on ends of eras, which are more difficult to recapture, but we’ll catch up on the rest. Not sure I’ve anything much to add to our calendar apart from “worm the dog” reminders. 😆 I am truly enjoying the extra time with them the teens/tween, because you are right about how short this time truly is. It may be different, but it is good.

  • Laurie says:

    Ha! I had to laugh at your writing about an alternative universe. It DOES feel like we have slipped into another person’s life doesn’t it? And a dull person’s life at that! Strawberries are just beginning to ripen here too. We have a favorite Amsh farm nearby where we have been going to buy strawberries. It almost compensates for the lack of stimulation. Almost!

    • Craft Mother says:

      Supporting the local producers is never dull. They certainly need it at the moment. I’m not sure it would feel like spring /summer without visiting our favourite strawberry farm. 😀

  • Anne says:

    I guess that’s one way of looking at it. Thinking about it, my alternative life wouldn’t be that much different apart from the kids being at school and my not having to teach them. I think they are missing out much more than me and that makes me sad. My eldest daughter was going away for a week this week, only in the UK, but she was meeting up with crowds of friends from other countries, so that’s upsetting. Then next month my tween would have been enjoying her first trip abroad with the school. The Little Man is missing his school friends and all the sports and exercise he would be getting. But the alternative me would probably be stuck at home, doing some reading and crochet. But a little lonelier. I’m sorry that you are all missing out on so much, let’s hope things will start getting back to normal soon and we can do some catching up…just think how wonderful those prawns are going to taste.

    • Craft Mother says:

      I think you are right. As a mother of teens, I’m most aware of what they are missing out on, rather than me. Apart from the odd meet up with friends, where the dates are fluid anyway, I don’t have anything significant in the calendar for me. It’s really their events that I feel a sense of sadness for. I don’t miss being a taxi. 😆 The prawns can wait. I got the geraniums instead!

  • I love the thought of you and your family in an alternative universe living the life you would have been living had Covid-19 not got in the way of it. I hope that alternative-you enjoyed her prawns while out celebrating the end of formal education for your eldest teen. It is very strange isn’t it to look at the calendar and think of what would have been had things been different. I love that your dog is in such demand although I am sure he must appreciate time to rest too! It is interesting though to reflect on how slowing down has changed us all and I wonder whether we’ll find we choose to slow down more as a result once life returns to more normal ways. That salmon geranium is very pretty. I hope you enjoyed the strawberries too. #WotW

  • Kim Carberry says:

    I haven’t looked at our calendar for weeks. It must be strange seeing yours and seeing the things which aren’t happening anymore especially the exams and last day of education. Those are big things!
    It does feel like an alternative universe x

  • Val says:

    The Alternate universe is a lovely idea to roll around my mind and as this year seems to be so odd/weird/strange I think you might have something there!
    (sympathy to the dog …anyone suggested you should have two yet ?)

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