Week 2. How you doing? I read somewhere that the best thing we, as parents, can do, is make sure our children keep self-isolation diaries, so in 20 or 30 years' time, when another generation of Australians are asked to interview people who lived through the lockdown, there'll be a record of how people lived their lives.
I remember my daughter once had to interview my father. I can't even remember what for, I think it was just an intergenerational thing. I loaned her my recording paraphernalia and I still have that conversation tucked away in a folder somewhere on my desktop and occasionally I listen to it, to both their voices. He died a few years ago, she's almost 19. It seems like a lifetime ago, but they were talking about their mundane lives and memories that meant something to them, if no one else.
But can I convince either of my children to do that now? Almost 19 and 17, their major problem is lamenting the waste of a gap year, but at the same time grateful they're not at university. Or not being able to play rugby, catch up with mates and just be teenagers.
So instead, I'll view this as something of my own COVID diary. Not that anyone is concerned with the life of a midlife woman.
Perhaps instead I shall tell the stories of people such as my neighbour, Emily. She's just 18, in her final year of school. I returned home the other day, back from a trip out to search for essential goods. She was sitting in the gutter, next to a bicycle that belonged to one of her younger twin sisters, her glorious dark hair cascading down her back.
How are you, I asked. And she was happy to talk. Perhaps that's because I've known her for a lifetime. Or perhaps it's because, I say with hope, we're upon generations who will talk.
But she was not happy, she felt robbed, she said, that such a vital year of her life was beyond her control. School would be school. Teachers were struggling with the technology, how were certain subjects expected to be taught online? But her main worry was missing out on such a wonderful year of life. Her friends were turning 18, but there were no parties. People were getting their driver's licences, but there was nowhere to drive to. Would she get a formal? There goes that netball trip to the Gold Coast, the house activities, the accolades that come with being the biggest fish in the pond at school. A whole year, robbed, of all that.
I didn't know what to say to her. I remember looking in on her 10 years ago when I ducked next door to keep an eye on her and her older brother when, at three in the morning, her parents went to the hospital for the twins' birth. She was beautiful then, but her life was about to change. That precipice where every older sibling lives for a little while.
I know that she, and every child born in those years post 9/11, will be fine. Just think about it, a generation of children born, literally, in the shadows of the Twin Towers, what they have endured during their short lives. A complete change, and now again, in the way we live.
But I've long thought they're a resilient bunch. Smart and funny and intelligent beyond their years. They'll get through this virus business and be stronger for it. I hope we all will.
I head out for my daily walk - I am determined not to gain the COVID-19kg - and I am buoyed by the spirit shown by my neighbours. I've actually never seen so many people out and about. People walking their dogs, jumping on trampolines with their children, pushing prams, keeping an acceptable distance.
I chat across the street to an elderly neighbour. Her husband is in a nursing home. His dementia is worsening. He doesn't understand what is going on, just that she isn't coming to see him. I can't imagine their life either, what they are going through now, what they've been through even before they got here.
And that's all we can do in our own neighbourhoods, in our own streets, even in our own homes. Listen to the stories of those we care for.
We will all get through this time in a completely different way, in a way which works for us.
But the most important thing we can do now is listen and be there, even if we are 1.5m away. Connect, even though we can't.