I have to be honest with you… The last week or so I have had a bit of the lock-down blues. As an extravert, I miss being social terribly. Things that were normal before COVID-19 took over our lives: hugging friends, chatting to other moms and teachers at the boys’ schools and having people over for a braai. It makes me quite anxious having to wear a mask everywhere and being sanitised in all the shops. My heart rate only goes down when I drive over the bridge into Kruger. The only place I feel safe at the moment.
Anyway, I don’t want to bore you with my lock-down blues. I would rather tell you what my dear husband did to cheer me up!
Mother’s Day was on day 45 of our lock-down. Steven and the boys let me sleep in a bit and surprised me with a drawing and my favourite chocolates after I got up… It was a stunning day here at Malelane Gate with clear skies. And after quite a nippy morning, it warmed up to a lovely temperature.
When it was about time to start preparing dinner, Steven said: “Leave it, my angel, we are going someplace nice.” I looked at him with a puzzled look on my face. All the restaurants are still closed during phase 4, so eating out was not an option… So where could he be taking the boys and me, I wondered.
Well, Steven took us to the best place ever: to the bridge over the Crocodile River for a skottelbraai!
This bridge, just before Malelane Gate, is very popular. For a lot of people, it is the first glimpse of their beloved Kruger National Park after not having been here for a long time. It is the last few moments spent looking at the hippos and crocodiles before the long drive home. It is also a place where people from Malalane town and surroundings like to come and watch the sunset after a long day at work. So this popular bridge is always very busy.
For us as a family, the bridge over the Crocodile is a special and happy place. It is where I teach Alex how to ride his bike and where they like to throw little pebbles into the water. On our way to and from school, the boys take turns telling me what animals they can see on either side. It is a place we go to for a sundowner when Steven is home, and where we show the boys the crocodiles’ eyes that light up in the spotlight after dark. They always scream with joy when they see one of the scaly creatures snap their jaws at the fish in the beam light.
More recently during the lock-down, going to the bridge, which we can see from the back of our house, has been a very welcome outing. Now that there is no traffic and there are no rows of cars parked on either side, it is a lovely place to stretch our legs, go for a run and let both Alex and Jack race up and down on their bikes and scooters. All without having to worry that either of them is going to get hurt. Going to ‘our’ bridge helps all of us get rid of some built-up energy!! And the sunsets we have seen from there during this lock-down have been absolutely magical!
So Steven could not have treated me to a more special Mother’s Day dinner venue! He packed chairs for us, cooler boxes with food and some drinks and squeezed the boy’s scooters in the boot of the car too. We set up everything close to the end of the bridge: our chairs (including two little plastic ones for the boys) in a half-moon around the skottel. I got a lovely cold glass of white wine (some of my lastL) and sat down to watch the sun go down behind the mountain. Alex and Jack in the meantime were riding their scooters from one end of the bridge to the other, stopping at every crack in the bridge to look at the bats inside.
A big breeding herd of elephants was on the southern side of the river close to the last two houses of Leopard Creek. They were coming closer and closer while Steven braaied the onions for our burgers with the lot!
It was the best moments spent on the bridge ever! The setting sun was colouring the sky all different shades of red, orange and yellow and elephants were joining our mother’s day dinner party!! We ate our burgers in the moonlight, with Venus shining oh so bright. All four of us, relaxing on our chairs on a bridge. A bridge that is usually so busy you need to look three times before crossing from one side to the other.
So as much as this lock-down is restricting us in where we can and cannot go; What we can and cannot buy; What we can and cannot do, it has also given me the most special mother’s day ever. A great way to lift the spirits. Thanks, my love!