Today I saw a letter that the prime minister had written to a little boy who was concerned that the current pandemic would mean that Father Christmas wouldn’t be able to visit. In the letter, he reassures the child that he consulted with the scientists and Santa will indeed be able to leave gifts for children as usual.
I’m not an emotional person. In fact, I’m considered by some to be completely emotionless, but this letter made me cry. It really hit home how the last year has affected our young people.
I have had similar conversations with my own children over the past 9 months. Worries that the Easter bunny would be stuck in quarantine, concerns that the tooth fairy wouldn’t be able to enter because we have more than 6 people in our house which means we aren’t allowed visitors, questions as to whether our elf would need to self isolate for two weeks when he arrives from the North Pole on 1st December.
There has been a huge amount of focus on the impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on our mental health, but most of what I have read has been aimed at adults. I have to wonder what the impact will be on the future generation who are growing up in such unusual circumstances. I know from experience that my 3-year-old has gone from being a fairly outgoing little boy to someone who runs away from people if he sees them coming towards him.
Since the announcements of 3 possible vaccines over the last few weeks, a lot of people are talking about getting back to ‘normal’ but one interview with a scientist stuck out to me. He said that even with the vaccines, he doesn’t think that life will go back to the way it was. In his opinion, masks, distancing and other measures will be necessary for a long time to come. This makes me ask what the future impact will be on our little ones. Are we now raising a generation of children who will think that hugs are dangerous? Will big birthday parties and New Year’s Eve parties be a thing of the past? In years to come, will I tell my children and grandchildren stories of football games and music concerts that they won’t be able to comprehend?
I think that whatever the future holds, we will be feeling the impact of this year on our society for decades to come. The economic impact of national lockdowns, the emotional impact of not being able to say goodbye to loved ones and the mental health impact on those who have found this time particularly difficult cannot be fixed overnight. No vaccine can cure these issues.
For my children, I just hope that I have managed to create some sense of normality. Even though we might not be able to do everything that we normally would, I hope that in the future they will see that we tried to shield them from as much as we could.
With Christmas looming, I have stocked up on Christmas crafts, we will be baking more than we’ve ever baked before, my dad will visit as he usually would as we are his support bubble, our elf will be up to his usual tricks and Santa will visit on Christmas eve. It will be a different kind of Christmas, but I hope it’ll be one without fear and worry for the children. I can do the worrying for them.
With so many uncertainties and questions still waiting to be answered, one thing is for sure. I won’t be sorry to see the end of 2020 in a few weeks time.