I know it's tantamount to treason to be a New Zealander and admit this given we all basically live for summer, but I'm going to miss winter. Overnight, daylight savings hit and immediately I began mourning the darkness. Maybe I've just finally reached peak adulthood, but the switch and loss of one hour has hit me hard on many levels.
I could never understand parents complaining about daylight savings, but now I do. We had months of long evenings where our 4-year-old would be eating dinner late, up late and going to bed late. I know she was going to bed late, because on Thursdays we had to tear ourselves away from Naked Attraction to do her ablutions. Two of my favourite things right there; hearing a 4-year-old saying she needs to do her ablutions and full frontal English nakedness on the state broadcaster.
Luckily for us she is adaptable and is a social animal, but after months of rolling up in our bathrobes for her daily LA Zoom preschool session, we decided we had better fall in line with a better routine once she started preschool in town.
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I had hit my scheduling straps. Home at 3.15pm. Dinner started by 4.45pm. All eating before 6pm. All asleep by 8.30pm. After months, even years of faffing about late into the night I was finally getting to bed early. I was so restored. Not to mention that it was a brilliant schedule for the 16:8 programme. There was much self-congratulation.
The days started slowly getting longer, eking out a fraction more daylight as the weeks went by. We were also able to measure this by noting the time we departed the house for our village local's Friday night drinks.
I asked the little one the other day if she was hungry and ready for dinner. She replied that she'd have it when it got dark. Immediately life was out of whack. It wouldn't be dark until nigh on 7.30pm. This would throw our careful plans out the door. It just wouldn't do. I was discombobulated and the thought of beginning dinner in the middle of the afternoon suddenly seemed untenable. What would I do when it actually got warm enough to be outside late afternoon?
We will have to rework the schedule and once the next school term starts we can claw back the early dinners. Her unicorn sleep mask will come into its own and I will adjust.
After some introspection, I know why I am going to miss winter. I'm scared for the change of season, for that brings the end of the year. And that brings the start of a new year, and we have no idea how that will play out. Winter has cosseted my husband and me from commercial and emotional upheaval. We retreated into ourselves and we let the darkness be a screen that we hid behind, standing between the life we knew in January and the life we were living. Winter allows a natural retreat and we embraced that.
January 1 will not signal the end of the pandemic. It won't be the end of uncertainty about our futures, our health, and it won't mean the economic hardship is over. In fact, the new year will be the start of a long journey ahead, where no one can predict how much of the world as each of us knew it will filter through.
What we can do is take the insights, creativity and opportunities we had for reflection and channel them into our return. A lot like spring, where reinvention and new beginnings reign.