Rosy, Tom, Oren (11), Denham (6), Nate (5) – Sydney

“Being with the kids all-day long has meant I’ve done more painting at night. One night, I picked a flower in the local street and sat up late painting it. It was a really huge, white, ghostly-looking, exotic flower. When I Googled it later, I found out it actually only flowers one night a year. Literally for one night only. So that brought joy in COVID-times, because I captured a really fleeting, beautiful thing.

Award winning journalist, Kate Mellis caught up with Rosy for an interview over the phone.

At the end of the first week of lockdowns, there was a feeling of anxiety hanging in the air. When I walked down the street, I felt like people were smiling and then averting their eyes, as though they were worried. If you’d have told me last year this was going to happen, I wouldn’t have believed you. It seems like the stuff of movies. A few months on, it feels like we’re coming out of this period, and there’s a lot more joy and trust back. 

My husband Tom and I came here to Australia from the UK going on 15-years ago. We don’t tend to have a lot of support with our family, there’s no grandparents or friends who take our children. So in terms of COVID-19 affecting that side of things, for us, it’s probably been minimal compared to other families. We’re a close family and we just hang out together. We’re a family of five in a two-bedder, so we’ve had to move around the furniture to make space for two offices, study stations for the kids and my art studio.

Having Tom and the children around constantly has been a really big change; not having any of those pockets of time, maybe half-an-hour here, half-an-hour there, where I’ve been on my own. I’ve got two part-time roles and Tom works full-time, so like most Australian families, we’re super busy. I guess it’s just been special in some ways, to simplify and know that we’re safe here together. Sydney is full-on; it’s so busy, you’re always racing, there’s so much traffic and all of that affects you. It’s such a joy to have peaceful roads. 

My kids make me laugh every day. It only happened once, but doing a live physical education session with fitness guru, Joe Wicks was really funny. All five-of-us in the lounge room one night at 7pm, the limited space and the silliness from the boys is unforgettable.

 I was concerned about the mental health of my youngest child, Nate when he started drawing pictures of people with a virus in their eyes. At some points he wouldn’t leave the house for three days at a time. I think some of that may have been him being a little bit worried about the virus and not being able to verbalize that anxiety to us clearly.

My deepest fear right now would be not being able to get back home to see my family again. I haven’t been home to the UK for a very long time. We were supposed to go back this May and then everything was cancelled. It was going to be a big family reunion; I’ve got six brothers and sisters, and we were all going to see each other for my mum’s 75th birthday. I’ve been really worried about mum because she’s the primary carer for my sister who has special needs. I’ve just been concerned about her self-isolating and whether she can cope with that. She takes everything in her stride and is very positive thinking; an absolutely amazing woman. 

 The pandemic has taught me that everything’s kind of interconnected and we’re all just so dependent on each other. It’s taught me we can still be connected even when we’re apart and that people can be adaptable. When this is all over, I just want to be able to chill out on the beach again, like we do as a family, without having to rush in and out of the water. And just being relaxed in the world again.”