Kissy bucks and Tonka Trucks by Michaela Alcorn

An image by Michaela Alcorn of two kids talking to two brown horses

Today I walked with my boys.
As I walked along a portion of our road, with a little hand in each of mine, I had a sudden realisation...
During COVID I have had more time to watch my babies grow.
I have seen our youngest go from just toddling to running in circles and literally climbing ladders.
From using 17 words to around 80 words.
I have watched our oldest baby have the most beautiful conversations through a fence with neighbours. Using verbal communication alone, being forced to describe what they are talking about rather than showing each other. A very different conversation than what he would have had if they were face to face. Free of the frustration that comes from sharing toys and ideas.
We have watched a baby goat be born.
That goat has since become so big that when we visit now he is lost amongst the other goats.
We think the Muma is pregnant again.
We have attentively watched a cocoon clinging to the last electricity pole on the left, just before the goats. Mustering up all sorts of restraint in order to avoid damaging it with inquisitive little fingers.
Still waiting for a moth or butterfly to emerge. A lesson in patience.
We saw "Queen Sticky" the Spiny Leaf Stick Insect lay approximately 80 eggs.
Our babies felt their first loss as we then bid her farewell, returned her to earth and lit a lantern to celebrate her life.
Big tears were cried.

I joined WhatsApp.
I joined Zoom.
I joined Skype.
I. Joined. These. Things. I still can’t believe it.
I tried to join Facebook.                                                                                                                                 
The world did me a favour and wouldn’t allow it. Thank you angels.
I watched Granny and Pa use these social platforms that were new to me let alone them. They are wonderful humans. They will never know how thankful we are to have them.
I watched our Nanna of 92 use these platforms to keep in touch yet stay safe. 92 and commenting on pictures. She is beyond brilliant. We adore her and we miss her terribly.
I spoke to my beautiful brother even more. Saw more of my Niece and Nephews' adventures.                                                                                                     
I spoke to all of my cousins more.                                                                                                                                                          
I have had wonderful friends that I have supported return that love and support, and I actually let it happen. Friends bought houses. 
Great Aunties and Uncles moved from their homes into a retirement home. Their last home.                                           

We met Paris the scruffy little dog.
We now know Paris's owner is welding something for his tractor.
We met and chatted with Snow and Bessy's dad who was kind enough to say we can visit every day.
We now know Snow and Bessy, the big brown horses, very well.
We visit them most days.
I've watched our super fast paced little man become calm and still in their powerful presence.
We love Snow and Bessy and they love our carrots.
We met the farmer who lives in the house where the chickens have always roamed free.
We met the chickens too.
We have cleaned the rubbish from our road several times – Tonka truck being pulled by rope and “claw picky upy stick” in hand.
I watch people drive by and actually return the waves of our babies rather than ignoring them as they used too. They see us now.                    
More dogs being walked.                                                                                                                   
Discovered there are horses to the left of us too…but they have nothing on Bessy and Snow.

Granny to hospital.                                                                                                                                                     
Pa to hospital.                                                                                                                                                            
Prayed to any sort of higher power that might listen.                                                                                                                                             
I’ve seen a marriage dissolve.                                                                                                                                                     
A grieving mother start to find her feet. 
A wedding postponed.
A baby conceived. That baby lost.                                                                                                                                 
I saw a lost loved one come to life again through the drawings of a local artist.                                       
We celebrated 18 years together.                                                                                                            
I have breast-fed and had my hair pulled through zoom meetings with local government reps and no one battered an fact I was praised for doing what I do best.                                                                                                                                                   
I have had phone calls with fancy people within the Victoria Police Force and Federal Government with my 4 year old bursting through doors screaming and my mum clambering after him. Was reminded that the fancy people may be human. They chose to be kind rather than rude about it. Granny and Pa chose to see this incident as a case of our boy being “strong willed and focused” rather than simply rude.
Simply blessed.                                                                                                                                                       

We've played more in our mud pit.
Bounced more on our tramp.
Made more slime.
More magic potions.
Made more forts.                                                                                                                                                                            
I’ve been a robot more than I can bear. Had to refer to our first born as "Robot dog" more than I can bear.                                                                                   
Danced more.
Cried more.
More wood fires.
Less wood now.
Almost no driving.
More electricity.
Bought less.
More time spent fishing from bunk beds.                                                                                                                                       
More puddles jumped in. 
More hand holding. More balls bounced. More feathers collected.
More hugs...and while I'm being honest...more moments of yelling...which equates to more moments of self-loathing.

More parcels. More coffee. More tea. More 'kissy bucks' as payment.                                                                                                                                     
More time to sit on windowsills and point out the sun streaming through the dew covered tree. More time to hear the magic responses from babes’ mouths "Wow Muma. That is magical. It looks like the whole world is made up of glistening speckled marbles”.
More time to marvel that in that moment, on that morning, the world legitimately looks like this.                                                                                                                                                             
I reflect on these moments, some small and some huge, all important.                                                                              
I reflect and in this moment I wonder how some days it felt like I was broken. Shattered.
At times COVID has been excruciating. At times it has been a gift.
I learned a lot about myself and what makes me tick.
On other days I very nearly developed a legitimate stress-induced tick.
I slept less...yes apparently you could get less sleep.                                                                                             
No more kinder. 
Tendon snapped in finger.                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
By the time we return to some sort of “normal” I will have healed that tendon.
We've smelt more leaves and flowers.                                                                                                                              
We've played in rain more.
Worn shoes less.
Worn pants less.
Eaten more.
Fit into less pants.
Little feet have grown out of shoes and into the next.                                                                                                 
Gumboots worn out.                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
More mushrooms noted.                                                                                                                               
Some leaf boats floated.                                                                                                                                      
We have walked more. Talked more.                                                                                                                                                                             
Talked less. Pondered more.                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

With my boys nipping at my heels I don't have the time or space to find the words that conjure up the imagery and depth of feeling that I am trying to describe.
I’ve missed enough while jotting this down. The babies are hungry and the dog wants to come in.                                                                                   
COVID tales. Wagging tails.