Life is What Happens To You While You’re Busy Making Other Plans

Since having Joshua, I have never been good at planning very far ahead, as inevitably plans have to be changed and dates have to be rearranged, so we are much more spontaneous than some other families. I like to see how he is feeling a particular day and perhaps how the weather is, and then decide what to do. I can recall the year my sister was 50 and my niece would be 21,and they wanted us to go on holiday to Florida with them. At first I resisted the idea as our outlook on holiday are very different: they both love a plan, like to know what is happening each day and what will be happening next, whereas I am much more ‘will o’ the wisp’ in my approach. I was worried that our differences would cause conflict and so they promised to be more spontaneous if we would go too. The holiday worked out really well in the end.

We are usually last minute on our Christmas and birthday plans too, lets see nearer the time, would be my typical response. That is one of the things that I like about the Community Singing that I have been attending, you can just turn up when it suits, whereas other groups you have to pay by the term and commit to attending each week, and my life does not allow for that level of commitment. I guess I am saying that we are unreliable, but I prefer to think of it as being flexible and spontaneous.

This last fortnight of Covid-19 isolation is a real case in point and I did not feel as though we had made that many plans but I have had to cancel and postpone a lot of planned activities : Of course Daycare was the first thing that I, with regret, cancelled as soon as I had a positive result. But last week, Joshua was due to have spent the night at a friend’s house – the first overnight stay away from me in 25 months! – so that my husband and I could both have had the freedom to sort the carpet laying task out, that I ended up doing on my own, while my boys stayed at home together. Today we were due to have a spa day together, a Christmas present from my sister, while she had kindly Joshua for the day. Even though we are both now negative, Joshua is still testing positive and so she cannot risk looking after him so we have postponed that activity until next month. Both of these planned activities were designed to give us some respite and to enable my husband and I to do things together as a couple again, but Covid has forced all three of us together once again in splendid self-isolation.

Tonight five of us, including Joshua, were going to the theatre, to see ‘Footloose’. I have bought tickets for my sister and friend for their early birthday presents. But now Joshua is still testing positive, he cannot go and I feared cancelling the whole event. But my husband was never a fan so was not coming too, so he will take care of Joshua while the rest of us still go without him. It will not be the evening I had planned, but at least the birthday girls still get to go and I will enjoy the rare night out too. So I have to be flexible and creative in adapting plans and our lack of ‘childcare’ options can make this difficult , especially as I am going out with the only two people who could have Joshua for us!

I have lost count of the number of social events that we have had to cancel or postpone due to Joshua’s ill-timed seizures over the years. In response to a dramatic turn of events, when emergency medicine has been administered, we have cancelled holidays and nights out, or just one of us has attended, while the other has stayed home to take care of the patient. This eventuality is always a risk if making any social arrangements with me as Joshua’s health will always come first over a pub meal out or a trip to he theatre.

So as I said, it can make me unreliable. I would always prefer to see how Joshua is and then make a plan, but modern life is not like that : tickets have to be purchased and tables have to be booked these days. So I will try my best to accommodate plans, but just know that any of them can be subject to last minute change.

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