29 April I have been reflecting on Brenda’s post of 25 April in which she spoke about routine and the need to find one during this time of social distancing when usual routines may not exist any more. Whether one likes routine or not, it’s probably fair to say that, no matter how we think we can design our day, the opposite is true. Our day designs us – it may even define us.
I think we know that children thrive on routine. They like to know what to expect. It gives them a sense of security. I love watching my younger grandchildren unconsciously following the daily routines set out for them. The routine of setting the table, washing hands (even before the time of coronavirus (let it be said)), taking turns in saying grace, clearing the table, stacking the dishwasher. Comfort in routine.
The parents have had their day designed for them, whether they like it or not.
Dogs need routine. My dog Holly actually designs my day because of her love of routine. The morning routine is making the bed, which takes up to 40 minutes because this is her play time. Cleaning the pool is next and her routine is to hide in the bushes, waiting to be found.
Walk time cannot be ignored. She know where the harness is and the walk bag and even where my walking shoes are. We follow the same route (routine?) every day. If I decide to go up the street rather than down the street, just for a change of scenery, she sits down and won’t move until we’re back on the right track.
5pm sees her waiting at the glass door, watching for a little girl who walks past our house with her mother and their dog ( their routine; dinner to follow. I’ll bet on it). Only then will she run to the gate, barking in the same excited fashion every day as if it is the first. Holly would never sit at the gate and wait. Too obvious. The little girl then decorates Holly with frangipani flowers she has collected on the way (routine?) which is really beautiful to watch. The mother and I have struck up quite a social distance acquaintance as Holly and her little friend show their mutual admiration.
Now it’s my turn. At 5:10 I’m inside starting dinner.
I say I have designed my day, that I’m flexible and free to choose how my day will go, but in fact there is a routine I have created, not Holly. I just raised her expectations of life. I think I may never be able to go back to the life before coronavirus. I don’t want to burst Holly’s bubble. Or be late making dinner and burst my husband’s.