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'As a single mum with a son I'm about to lose to his teens, the lockdown is a silver lining.'

So it turns out I’m one of those mums; the kind that has just a tad trouble letting go (like most of us).

I was fully expecting to ‘lose’ my son Winston this year, thanks to the start of secondary school, and him turning 13. I even cried a few cry baby tears because of it on New Year’s Eve.

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I was expecting to barely see him, thinking I’d no longer get to cuddle him, and would stop hearing about his day, as he truly embarked on his way to adulthood – not being my baby but my teenager.

I thought this year would be the beginning of a slow goodbye, even though I realised that’s the circle of life; watching our kids grow up is the way things are meant to be if you’re lucky. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t sad about letting go for the next chapter. It’s been just the two of us for a decade, and I headed into 2020 feeling sentimental about this year.

As it turned out, I was about to get a small reprieve, thanks to COVID-19 and the lockdown. For the past four weeks, Winston and I have been in isolation together, only having each other for company. It’s as if time has paused; and we’ve become closer than ever.

Don’t get me wrong; this is a hell of a time to be a sole parent, and really, for everyone.

But the silver lining for me as a mum, on a personal level, has been spending this extended time with my son; especially because I thought it was going to be all over red rover this year.

 

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Don’t get me wrong – we’re not doing all the cool iso activities you’re seeing people do on social media. Even after attempts at bribery, Winston’s refused to play Uno with me, do a puzzle or learn a TikTok dance together – even though he’s on TikTok constantly.

We’re not spending every second on top of each other; I sometimes exercise alone, he heads out the back to shoot some hoops. He games with his mates online, I work with my face in my laptop for far too long.

But apart from those things, we’re hanging out in unprecedented levels: enjoying each other’s company in a way that’s only been possible thanks to the lockdown where there’s no other distractions, nowhere else we need to be.

For us, it’s not just been a lockdown, but a slowdown, too. I’m embracing it, and appreciate it, because it could be so different for us right now. Instead, I get to enjoy this dude’s company all the time.

I’m taking the chance to talk to Winston in a way we don’t always have time for; telling him more about the three grandparents he never knew, for example. Sharing my wisdom about life so he doesn’t, ahem, repeat my mistakes. Talking about the meaning of mental health.

I’m also teaching the kid things that are not priorities at his age, but are life skills. For example, the other day, I taught him how to use Windex for a streak-free shine. He was so excited about how the reflective front of the microwave came up, god dammit. It almost brought a tear to my eye.

During the lockdown, he’s also learned how to make a chicken curry and varnish wooden furniture.

Don’t worry, I’m not neglecting his education. Tonight, we’re watching 1917 as a ‘history lesson’ (but also because gosh, I love any parenting I can do sitting on my arse).

I’ve noticed that Winston is also taking the lockdown/slowdown as a chance to get to talk to me about big picture stuff. It was a surprise to think about the situation in these terms – that he’s also enjoying the unprecedented access to me.

Because, this is the thing; he’s always my everything, and right now, I’m his everything, too. I’m all he’s got. And there’s no way I’m not going to enjoy that, because I know it won’t be like this forever.

Life will move on. I just hope Winston looks back at this incredible, devastating moment in history and knows that he was the best part of it, for me.

Feature Image: Instagram/@namawinston

Nama Winston has had a decade-long legal career (paid), and a decade-long parenting career (completely unpaid). You can follow her on Instagram and Facebook.


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