The year 2020 hasn't been easy for anyone. Life in lockdown is tough - particularly if you're in Melbourne and doing it for a second time, wondering if there really is an end in sight.
But one Melbourne family I know has been living it up at the same time - weekends away, trips to the theatre, cafe meals and salon pampering.
How can that be, you ask?
No, they're not flagrant rule-breakers, just super creative parents sucking up the lemon of a situation they're in and turning it into lemonade.
Jacqueline Smart Ferguson and her husband Neil are parents to 10-year-old Eamon and eight-year-old Lara.
In the middle of lockdown, Jacqueline posted on Facebook about her weekend away.
"We stayed at an apartment in the city (fold out bed in lounge room), went to the theatre (watched Victoria State Ballet Little Mermaid via livestream), ate at a funky cafe (nachos in the dining room with a hand written menu), snacks from the mini bar (stash of burger rings and chocolate) gifts from the hotel lobby, (new bed socks from the chemist) and finished our 'weekend away' with a visit to a very ritzy salon for a makeover (bathroom with a little bit of hair colour still to get out of the grout).
Then opened our exotic (all the way from Jugiong) care package from a beautiful family in Canberra we had planned to spend the holidays with."
Her friends were quick to comment, praising Jacqueline's positive outlook and imagination, for helping to create fun memories for her children.
"We realised early on that we needed to approach this time with a focus on all the things we could still do rather than what we couldn't," says Jacqueline.
"Weekends away have been replaced with blanket forts in the lounge room; nights out, with the takeaway containers alongside the linen napkins and best cutlery for a fine dining restaurant at home."
There's lots they've missed out on - Neil has two adult daughters in Queensland he hasn't seen in months, and the family has missed milestone occasions like his parents' 60th wedding anniversary and his mum's 80th, as well as Mothers and Fathers day with family and a friend's funeral.
Jacqueline and Neil also celebrated their own wedding anniversary in the dark and without water after a bad storm contaminated much of the Melbourne supply.
Again, they approached it with humour on Facebook:
"Living the dream - no power for 24 hours, can't drink the water, go out of the house without a mask for our one trip out within 5ks of home, sitting in the dying light cooking the contents of our defrosted freezer food by bbq - Happy Wedding Anniversary. People (even if I've only met you once) please come visit after this is over so we can reach another anniversary. X"
Jacqui says of the last few weeks: "It's been a good lesson in perspective. Grandparents have shared stories of growing up in wartime where they would be bundled up in an air-raid shelter when a siren sounded. We've shown them the aftermath of Beirut and the result has been humbling. My daughter brushed her teeth this week after our water was given the all clear, and she said 'I'm so grateful and happy we have fresh water from the tap to brush our teeth'.
She was genuinely thankful. Finding something to be grateful for every day is a lesson I hope stays with them through whatever life throws at them in the future."
According to psychologist Sandy Rea, so many parents want to have 'resilient children'.
"The Ferguson family are a great example of how to demonstrate it and role model it," she tells Essential Kids.
She believes the parents are showing their children 'emotional agility' in action by being creative and showing adaptability.
"People are consumed with ensuring there is no stress or distress in their lives..," she explains. "This family is saying 'got it, understand it, can't change it; now let's see what we can do with it.' Brilliant."
If you need any more inspiration to give this a go with your own family, then how about this:
Jacqueline says, "We asked the children what they have been grateful for during this time and the response has been spending time with my family."
No, 2020 hasn't been an easy year for anyone.. but if there's a silver lining, that might be it.