It seems like a minute ago my babies were tiny enough to be snuggled into my neck, 18 months ago their cheeks still bore the chubbiness of childhood, and now they stretch almost from my chin to my toes, transforming into young women even though they have had to learn to keep their world small, just for the moment, and then one moment more.
I have friendships that are over 40 years old, yet I don’t feel any different from how I felt when I was 17 full of unrealised dreams and aspirations and nary a moment to waste. I am almost 47 now and I am in lockdown, but still with at least 30 more years of unrealised dreams and aspirations that leave me feeling restless, as I put them on hold, just for the moment and then one moment more.
The increasing numbers are meaning nothing now because I am doing what I can, and it’s not enough. None of it is enough. Control is just an illusion. I don’t have control. You don’t have control. They don’t have control. We will have to learn to live with it. We will. In the same way we learn to live with other things that senselessly destroy lives. We will learn to live with it for just for the moment, and then one moment more.
I lie awake at night thinking of the refugees that have been locked up for eight years. The 15 year old boys who have become 23 year old men. And I feel chest aching sorrow. Because if I hurt this much because my daughters, all of us, are missing out on so much because of this pandemic, how have they felt, how have their families felt as they hold on, just for the moment, and then one moment more?
I ponder gratitude, this determination people have for us to be thankful for the time we are ‘forced’ to spend with their partners and children. I don’t need to be forced to spend time with them. I like them. But they are missing out on their wider family. Their friends. The people they love and who make their lives better just for being in the world. I am missing out on mine. I know, I know. It’s just for the moment. And then one moment more.
I ruminate about touch. I think about how so many people are missing out on touch. A quick hug as a greeting. A casual hand on the shoulder as a point is made during dinner. A handshake at the start of a meeting. A jokey hip bump on the dance floor. A high five from a team mate. Those small casual moments where two people show affection and connection. Those ones we pull back from now. Those ones we avoid. Just for the moment and then one moment more.
I think about all those people who lack my privilege. Not just in Australia but worldwide. The ones who don’t have jobs they can stay home and do. The ones that keep the world moving. The ones most likely to end up with Covid. The unsung heroes as well as the widely lauded ones. The cleaner, the shelf stacker, the bin collectors as well as the nurses, the doctors, the teachers. All of them getting on with it, just for the moment and then one moment more.
I don’t like this perpetual state of being on hold. I don’t like it at all. But even as my chest tightens with the discomfort of it all, as my anxiety roars loudly, and I panic about all the memory making we are all missing out on, I know that I will go with it. I will do it. Just for the moment and then one moment more.