As a sometimes overly pragmatic mum-of-four I often think of what Barack Obama said was his mother's refrain, when he would complain about her making him study: "This is no picnic for me either, Buster!"
It came to mind when I read reports about charities that work with the elderly saying they were having lots of calls from frustrated, fit and healthy over 70s who are fed up with cocooning and just going to go ahead and go out regardless.
I felt it at the start of this Covid horror show too when I found myself home-schooling, yet saw numbers of old folks out shopping together and enjoying coffee in the still-open cafes having clearly not gotten the memo about social distancing. Their lives weren't suddenly upturned by the schools closure so the seriousness hadn't seemed to have hit home with them at that stage.
I have kids to play with and a garden to do that in, and I am very aware that not everyone's lockdown has the same moments of joy within it that mine has. I'm enormously grateful, but it's no picnic either.
Yet, I have a maturity to deal with it now that I lacked a few decades ago and I think we need to give our elderly the credit for having the mental resilience to get through this rather than pander to recent calls to ease up on the cocooning.
Rather than a constant focus on the old folk who aren't allowed out to play, isn't it time to shine a light on the amazing levels of compliance (without much complaint) we are seeing from 19- to 22-year-olds who are altruistically enduring a dystopia we would never have believed possible in our heyday?
There are some biological facts that need to be faced here - not least of which is that the older you are the easier it gets to suffer a night in, never mind possibly hundreds of them, and the more able you are to face quiet days with only books/ TV/ gardening/ odd jobs for company. That would've been my vision of hell at 20. I imagine at 70 it might compare favourably with taking a punt on ICU/ death.
The warm glow of an iPad is a poor substitute for ardent young lovers kept apart and forced to live 24/7, for however long, with their parents. (I know parents of teens are finding lockdown particularly difficult too.)
It is in the natural order of things to feel utterly invincible and probably immortal at 20 - but it seems like that feeling may still be strong for some in their 70s. In normal circumstances I'd celebrate their joie de vivre, but it's a delusion in this reality.
I'm sure a sizeable number of the dead were also independent people who were wonderfully young at heart too.
Imagine what would've happened to our worldview when we were the youngest of adults if we hadn't had the option to just pack up a rucksack and seek a better life because the world suddenly shrank to 2km?
The rug got pulled from under them when they were just taking their first steps out into the world, and they will pay economically for this for decades to come.
They are the ones we need let out to play first and happily they are the ones it will be safest for.