She was a little downcast in the conversation. Her words were unusually few. She had just been listening to the president’s address on television.
Little Henrietta sat down quietly. When asked questions, she answered in mono syllables. The root of the issue, was that she was sad because the lockdown was about to be lifted. Funny how life presents itself.
Very many adults were excited at the prospect of the lifting of the lockdown. Many expressed anger that it’s been extended for a long time. They cannot wait to go back to their normal lives. They missed their work stations, they missed their work colleagues and they missed hanging out with friends for long hours and could not wait to get their “freedom back”.
In the same space is little Henrietta. She is a classic representation of another breed of folks; those who over the last 60 days and more have had the rare privilege of seeing their father. Life before the forced lockdown was busy and hectic. Everyone was busy.
For many a parent, it was all about hassling to make life work: from picking and dropping children, longer hours in the traffic, beating deadlines, fighting with children to finish homework, get off television and going to bed before struggling to wake them up the next day. The cycle would go on and on. During weekends, it was about finishing homework, running to and from the market, visits, parties and more.
There are many cases where the parent left the children asleep and returned home when they were asleep. There are many cases where the domestic assistants at home had more knowledge and understanding of the welfare of children than their parents.
Suddenly the old way of life was replaced. Daddy has been home much longer than anyone can count. Daddy has had a chance to look through the children’s school work because that was the only option. Daddy has been around to see the baby wake up and crawl around the house for hours. Initially, baby wasn’t sure what to make of all these new changes but eight weeks helped with the adjustments.
The challenge however, is that soon, that will not be the case. With the lifting of the lockdown, the old normal is threatening to become the new normal again.
Little Henrietta is sad. She fears she will not see Daddy more often and she will not play in his hair the way she’s freely done over the last weeks.