In a world without COVID-19, this past week would have been very different. On Thursday afternoon, a picture-perfect summer day, I would have picked my parents up and delivered them to our house for their (almost) yearly sojourn to Austria.
There would have been lots of hugs and probably a few tears. We might have had a BBQ on the back terrace, listening about how their trip had gone so far – a cruise from Prague to Berlin – possibly they would have had to deal with colds or other difficulties, but they would be in good spirits because they had finally arrived in Austria.
I would have shown my Dad the garden, and asked his advice on what was pulling out my silverbeet and why my snow peas weren’t growing. I might have taken him on a stick walk around the surrounding countryside and convinced him to help me weed my garden. No doubt my in-laws would have taken my Dad off on a hike – and I would have enjoyed some time with my mum – shopping, drinking coffee or cleaning out the cellar. I had plenty of jobs planned for them, but sadly have had to do these all on my own.
I would have been a little tense because come Monday it would have been time to drop them at a hotel for three nights on Lake Wörtersee while I flew to Copenhagen for a work event. It would have been a whirlwind of stress and long days and nights and then launching myself back into entertaining my folks when I returned home (not that they need much entertaining, but you know what I mean).
We might have gone to watch the bird show at Landskron Castle, we might have tripped off to Steiermark to go to the chocolate factory, I would have taken a few days off work, and we definitely would have eaten lots of food and enjoyed many nights’ out.
When I think about it, I actually don’t have any idea how I was going to survive their visit plus work trip plus whatever else was going on at the time.
I’m not necessarily upset that I don’t have to deal a work trip at the moment, or fly away from my parents while they’re visiting. I’m pretty happy to have this quiet long weekend for myself.
In reality I would have at some point gotten uptight, said something snarky to my parents, just because… occasionally when I’m with them I turn back into an adolescent teenager with the hormones to go with it.
Up until now this COVID-19 thing hasn’t really been affecting me much, but I have to admit that there’s a sense of melancholy in the air when I think of all the things I could have done with my parents, and I wonder how long it will be till we can actually see each other again. The month of June in our downstairs calendar is filled with pictures of when they were here last year, and the first time I turned the page over I was overcome with emotion.
Still, there’s nothing to be done. Important is, we’re safe, we’re healthy and we are enjoying getting back to normal both in Austria and Australia. And their trip will keep – it’ll just have to wait till next year.
So this weekend I have surrounded myself with friends, gone out for meals, enjoyed the sunny weather, spent time at the local swimming pool, and weeded my garden all on my own.