Honest Motherhood: Sunshine and Ice-Creams, a moment before lock-down

A recent column for The Wokingham Paper: 
It was weeks ago, not long before lock-down. We were told to avoid public places, but that big, open outdoor spaces were fine. 
So on a bright and beautiful Saturday afternoon, we took Maia to Virginia Water, for a blissful long walk in the sunshine. 
I did not fully appreciate, on that glorious afternoon, that this would be the last time I went anywhere quite so picturesque, in a while. I did not realise, how much I would miss the sight of strangers and families or the weird sense of comfort simply being around groups of people brought me. 
I was always grateful for the often-uplifting conversations I had with Mummy friends in the playground, and enjoyed the little bits of chit chat I often got with Mums I’d never met before about our children. I miss those spontaneous connections now, at a time when I know they’re unlikely to occur. (Though I did exchange a knowing smile with another Mum today as I went for my once-a-day walk, whilst she guided her two little girls across the road.) 

Upon arrival that afternoon at Virginia Water, Maia very quickly spotted several people with ice-creams, and politely, though rather directly requested one of her own.
“When we’ve walked round, then you can have an ice-cream..”. (We’d only just arrived, it was too soon to be dealing with spillages and sticky fingers.)
We proceeded to use the promise of ice-cream as a bribe to encourage her to walk. It’s remarkable how many miles a six year old can achieve with a strong enough incentive. 

Now that I am more than a little bit pregnant, (passed the halfway mark but still a while to go) I find myself needing a wee significantly more frequently. This is fine when I am at home, if not slightly tiresome, but when I am out and about, it can be a real pain. Given the degree to which I stay hydrated, it didn’t take long before I needed the toilet for the second time post-arrival. There were none in sight. And after a few minutes pacing round the place, none to be found either. I was getting desperate.
“Just have a wee in there Mummy!” said Maia, pointing to a less-than-private bush just next to a very public footpath. 

“It’s too open darling!”. 
“We’ll find a better one..” My partner reassures me. 
Well, we did, and minutes later I am squatting in foliage almost designed for such emergency situations. A wonderful little patch, off the beaten track, deep in the heart of a giant bush. 
Bladder sufficiently emptied and anti-bac generously dispensed, we headed for Maia’s sacred promised ice-cream, then back to the car. 
We didn’t realise how lucky we were that day, in so many ways, though we know now. 
So much has changed over the last few weeks and the next few aren’t particularly certain. We know we are to stay at home, support the vulnerable in any way we can, and be abundantly grateful for our amazing NHS. 
Whilst we won’t be spending our Easter weekends out and about in the sunshine or visiting friends and family, the majority of us still have a great deal to be grateful for. 

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