We stayed at home: 'Just a moment in time'

25 May 2020
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Ida Cullen and her husband Mike didn't see each other for nearly two months due to Covid-19.

'We stayed at home' is a three-part series of three people of different ages telling their stories of lockdown life. Want to read all stories now? Click here or grab a copy of Style magazine out now!

Burnham’s Ida Cullen, 41, spent lockdown with her son Enzo and father Trevor and didn’t see her husband Mike for nearly two months.

My husband Mike left for a work conference on March 7. Initially he was going to be in Spain, but it shifted to London because of how bad things were getting there. Then, suddenly, the cases in London went up to about 100. It started to become quite real for people that it [Covid-19] was travelling fast.  

We had a trip planned to my dad’s house in Hira, near Nelson. We, my two-year-old son Enzo and I, were going to leave a couple of days after Mike got home, but it soon became apparent that we should go before he came back so he could self-isolate. He arrived back on March 15, and we left that morning and didn’t see him again until May 2. 

He missed us and we missed him. At the time, I guess you kind of push the part of missing someone away, because if you dwell on it too much, you wouldn’t continue with your day, trying to make it as normal as you can. And it was just a moment in time. So, we had an extended holiday at grandad’s house. 

I felt quite lucky to have this time with my father. There were quite a few people who couldn’t be with their grandchildren. Dad and I have always been close and seeing him with Enzo made me remember how our relationship was when we were children. You see your parents being a parent in a way, if that make sense. But he also got to know his grandson on so many different levels, including the early morning wake-up call and the toddler tantrums [laughing]. 

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Enzo and Ida's dad Trevor.

We know Dad’s neighbours quite well, so we waved out to them and talked over the fence. People were saying, ‘How are you doing? How are you finding it?’ When they asked that question, they were asking in a really genuine way, and I think that was really nice. When we went out for walks, everyone waved at each other and said hello. Even though we were physically distancing, we are still trying to be socially connected. 

When the call came for 70-year-olds to stay at home, I started to think about what we were going to do with this two-year-old at home! Dad had some flour from 2017 and I made some play dough with it. Enzo ate some. I thought he would be quite disgusted by it, but unfortunately, he’s done it a few times now.  

We had some chalk so drew roads on the ground for him to run his trucks on. Enzo started to talk a lot; he’s quite chatty. He would bring up the names of his friends randomly when he played. His friends Ava and Henry were driving his trucks with him the other day; that was really sweet. I did feel sad he couldn’t do the things he normally does, like go to the playground, but I’m lucky he is at an age when I don’t have to fully explain why, so he adapted quite well.  

When he is older and facing challenging things, I will tell him about this time. I will say to him, ‘Though you can’t remember it, we did this, and it was pretty scary for a lot of people, but we came out okay. So, with whatever you do in life, when you are faced with times that are quite stressful and hard, it is going to be okay. Because it is just a moment in time.’  

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