5th August 2020: The Future

5th August 2020: The Future

Dear Edith,

Nearly sixteen weeks old! The health visitor came round and measured you – you now weigh 14lbs 3oz and you’re pretty much bang on in terms of your growth and development. Last week you started giggling, although you’ve only done it a couple of times and we have to work really hard to get you to do it.

Dad’s currently tickling you on the changing mat, and you’re chortling away to him.

You’re also really into his crisp packets.

We also started thinking about the future a little this week. There hasn’t been a huge amount of time to think about it – we live hour to hour at the moment, trying to work out what you need at any given time. It’s usually either “food” or “sleep”, which makes the guessing game much easier.

I have a rough timescale for when I’d like to move out of our little terrace house, which I’m starting to think might be cursed, given that every time we fix something a completely new thing breaks. Dad managed to snap the bedroom door handle the other day and we had to sellotape it back on until we can get a new one.

Anyway, in the next couple of years we’re going to be moving to the next town over, where I grew up and where your Granny and Granda still live. It’s quiet and full of playparks and big green spaces and right next to the sea. It’s also where I went to primary school, and while my high school experiences weren’t fantastic, I really enjoyed primary school. I’d like you to go to the same one.

This was my fifth birthday, so it must have been just after I started school.

Your Dad works in the town, but he hasn’t seen much of it outside of the office and Granny and Granda’s house, so we went for a walk recently to pick out some streets we’d ideally like to move to. We stumbled upon the (open) gate to the school playground. It’s the summer holidays and aside from a couple of boys kicking a football around on the playing field there was nobody there, and being intensely nosy we went in for a look around.

It’s similar enough to when I was there to be slightly surreal, but different enough that it’s like an entirely different place. I can point out the gym hall and the headteacher’s office and the door I walked out of on my last day while the teachers played our Class Song.

(Can’t Stop by the Red Hot Chili Peppers)

I’m looking forward to watching you grow up. It’s strange to imagine, as you’re strapped to my chest in the baby carrier, that one day you’ll be a five year old lining up outside a classroom and pulling homework out of a schoolbag. I wonder what you’ll like to do, what your friends will be like, whether you’ll want to run around outside or if you’ll want to stay indoors, making up stories.

Usually these would be the only questions, but the future is uncertain. It’s been months since COVID-19 first made an appearance and there’s no vaccine, no cure, no sign of anything that will snap everything back to how it was. I don’t even know if that’s possible any more.

People have been saying that we’ll be living with this virus for years. I hope, for your sake, that something miraculous happens in the world of science (which is a little bit of an oxymoron) and we get past it.

Your childhood will be different from mine in a lot of ways. You’re born into an age of technology that was still in its infancy when I was younger, and you’ll almost certainly look back on my schooling like it’s “the olden days”. I think that, as much as the outside of the school looks familiar to me, the lessons and teaching methods and general community will be completely unrecognisable compared to how life and school were when I was younger.

It’ll all be normal for you, the same way mine was for me. But god, I hope every single day that the fear of the virus isn’t normal as well.

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