It has been more than five months since I last saw my sister Annabelle and my little niece and nephew, Imogen and Rex. Belle and I have always been incredibly close, and not being able to see each other for such a long time would have been unthinkable a few months ago. Not having each other to lean on over lockdown has been harder than I imagined it would. So the idea that all three of them will finally be in my garden on Saturday for a family barbecue after what has felt like an eternity is filling me with joy.
When we all met up for my birthday just before lockdown, we didn’t realise it would be for the last time for months. My sister and I have moved through life as a unit. It’s just the two of us siblings, and we have always been a big support to one another. We talk on the phone or FaceTime most days, and are used to seeing each other regularly. My seven-year-old twin boys, Bertie and Cosmo, are the same age as Annabelle's eldest, and the children are very close too. Raising our little ones at the same time has always felt like one of the biggest privileges. How lucky are we to get to experience motherhood alongside each other?
Five months is a long time in the life of a little person, and I feel desperately sad for the kids that they haven’t been able to see each other or go to school. The boys can’t wait to see their cousins on Saturday. I’ve just accepted it’s going to be impossible for them all to distance. You can’t tell seven-year olds to play two metres apart, it’s just not practical. And to be honest, I think we’ve all waited long enough for this.
It has been very strange going through something so monumental separately. Belle is usually so stoic about everything, whereas I’m more emotional, but strangely, the tables have been turned in lockdown. She has struggled a bit, whereas I have been quite ‘head down, get through the day’ about it all. These past few days have been particularly tough as my husband, Richard, lost his mum last week. She fell ill during lockdown (not with something Covid related), and sadly left us a few days ago. It's been a desperately sad time; and not being able to see loved ones — especially my sister — has been incredibly difficult, as I’m sure it must have been for so many people.
Although Belle and I live less than an hour from each other, as we’ve had my father-in-law to protect it didn’t seem appropriate to try and see each other. We could have driven over and waved from a distance I suppose, but that seemed like pittance compared to our normal routine. When you are used to being physically close to someone, it isn’t particularly satisfying to stand at the end of a driveway.
Finally, last week we just decided enough was enough, and with the restrictions relaxing from tomorrow we made a plan for them to come over and sit in the garden (we might even venture inside if it’s wet). We were nearly scuppered by the Leicester lockdown as Annabelle and her family live in a village near the city, but luckily they are just outside the new lockdown zone, so they are still able to come and see us tomorrow. I feel desperately sorry for anyone whose plans have been ruined by the renewed lockdown.
I can’t wait to have my sister and the kids standing in front of me in 3D, rather than just as images on a video call. I dare say we shouldn’t hug each other still, but even being able to sit and talk with a glass of wine or cup of tea is going to feel magical.
Caro Davies writes interiors blog The Twinkle Diaries