Before Coronavirus (BC), the Canham family’s days looked markedly different to what they do now.
Both Craig and Leonie were working full-time in jobs they loved – Craig in the job services’ industry and Leonie as a freelance writer - and their three boys were catching the bus to and from primary school each day, happily immersed in grades 2, 4 & 6.
Like most families, their week nights were filled with after-school activities for the kids - racing around to swimming lessons, tennis coaching, basketball, cricket, footy and guitar lessons.
Craig travelled away for work during the week, so most week nights Leonie wrangled the boys on her own.
Living in a family-friendly housing estate in the riverside town of Moama, the kids spent ALL their spare time playing sport with mates at nearby parks and playgrounds, and exploring the bush areas surrounding their patch on bikes and scooters.
Weekends were loaded with more sport for the boys, sleepovers, camping trips, weekends away, and plenty of social ‘gatherings’ with friends, family and neighbours.
Yep, life was grand.
But then someone flicked a switch, or ate a bat or something, and the world as they knew it was gone……
Suddenly there was no school, no sport, no extra-curricular activities, no playdates, no camping, no outings, no gatherings, and a dramatically changed work landscape with both mum and dad at home. Twenty-four-seven..
With the forced isolation thrust upon them, they were grieving the loss of so many freedoms. How were they to survive? Where could they turn for solace and meaning?
To their beloved backyard….that’s where.
The Canham’s backyard (which was recently given a Sir Walter DNA Certified Instant Turf makeover) has always played a pivotal role in their life.
But now it’s become their epicentre.
For Craig and Leonie, it’s where they find peace and calm in a world spinning sideways; where they stand barefoot on the soft lawn and ground themselves in nature; where they tend to the garden as well as their thoughts; where they hide away from the kids for some desperately needed adult-only conversation; where the call of the songbirds in the surrounding bushland soothes their fears; and where they sit peacefully in the evenings, sharing a glass of wine as the sun sets on another day in this strange new world.
For the kids, it’s where they emulate their sporting heroes in games of basketball and footy; where they stage fiercely fought-out competitions in downball, darts, totem tennis and table tennis; where they play chasey on the lawn for hours on end with their golden retriever Indra; and where they wrestle, argue, bicker and shout.
As a family it’s where they cook campoven dinners, damper and marshmallows over a make-shift firepit dug into the ground; where they play kick-to-kick, keepings off and tippity cricket; where they exercise in their homemade gym in the garage; play boardgames, cards and puzzles on the outdoor table; and where they share meals, stories and laughter under the great night skies.
"We’re ALL grieving the loss of many freedoms right now, each and everyone of us – but if we let it, this time can also be an opportunity," says Leonie.
"An opportunity to reconnect with so many lost and simple pleasures in life – most of which are available to us right here in our own backyards.
"If anything, this time in isolation is teaching us that we must never forget to enjoy the little things, because they are never as little as we think."
What are you missing most about life BC and how are you spending ‘slow time’ in your own backyard during this time of pandemic?