Operation CoronaFamily

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Operation CoronaFamily

By Abigail Rice for Stories Aloud

Lily woke up with a start. Had she missed her alarm? What time was it? Was she late for school?

Oh. Right.

She let her head flop back down onto her pillow. No school today. It was another day in coronavirus lockdown.

She dragged herself out of bed and went downstairs to get a glass of milk.

Mum and Dad were sitting in the living room with the door shut. They were watching the news channel. That’s the only channel they watched these days.

“Coronavirus has now spread further and more people have been infected,” the reporter was saying.

Lily didn’t really understand much about this coronavirus thing. But she knew it was a big deal because everyone was talking about. In fact, that was the only thing anyone was talking about.

Suddenly, Dad opened the living room door and saw her standing there.

“Hello, Pip,” he said cheerily, “you’re up late!”

Dad had called Lily ‘Pip’ her whole life, and no one knew why.

He went into the dining room to ‘work from home’. This was something he did these days. He would sit in front of his laptop all day long and sometimes he would have meetings on Skype.

Mum didn’t normally go to work, but these days she delivered food to people in the neighbourhood. When she got home, she would wash her hands for a long time and then clean the flat. Every day!

This wasn’t Lily’s normal life. This was like a strange and boring dream she couldn’t wake up from.

Before the coronavirus, Lily would wake up to her alarm, get herself dressed, and rush outside to walk to school with her best friend, Rupesh. She would listen to her teachers, pass letters to her friends, play in the playground, make fun of Mr. Isaac, and come home full of energy. She’d do her homework and then dash back outside for some time on her bike with Rupesh before dinner.

But then suddenly… the coronavirus happened, and her whole world just stopped.

“Don’t forget to do your classwork.” Mum said as she wrapped her scarf around her face and left for her morning deliveries.

 Just another day in lock down, thought Lily, as she flopped down on the sofa to prepare herself for another really boring day. Thank goodness for cartoons!

In the afternoon, she tried to read her book but she couldn’t concentrate. So, she cuddled BoBo, her teddy, and played a game Mr. Isaac had taught her to do when she was feeling stressed. It was called: “happy place”.

She closed her eyes and let herself fall into a beautiful daydream.

She imagined being in the playground at school. Rupesh was there. He was calling her name from the top of the slide. Grace and William were on the swings. Everyone was laughing and playing.

And soon, Lily was fast asleep.

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Lily woke up with a start. Had she missed her alarm? What time was it? Was she late for school?

Oh. Right.

Another day in lockdown.

“Hello, Pip, you’re up late!” called Dad cheerily from the dining room as she walked past to get her glass of milk.

“Don’t forget to do your classwork,” Mum called as she left.

Lily did her classwork and flopped on the sofa to watch her cartoons. She watched so many, that she was still sitting there when Mum got home. But then Mum started hoovering so loudly she couldn’t hear anything. So Lily stomped upstairs to her room.

She could feel the stress bubbling up inside her. It was like a rubber band pulled tight in her chest. And it just kept getting tighter. She didn’t really understand what was going on. She felt scared and sad. But most of all, she felt very, very lonely. She missed her friends. She missed her old life.

She felt so frustrated that she grabbed BoBo and threw him across the room.

BoBo hit a picture frame on her desk and it fell  to the floor.

She rushed over to it. Luckily it wasn’t broken. It was a photo of her last birthday. When Grandma, Uncle Alan, Auntie Patti and Cousin Simon had all surprised her with a party and some cake.

That seemed like such a long time ago now. A different world. She hadn’t seen any of them for over a month!

She didn’t want to get upset again, so she tried another one of Mr. Isaac’s games. This one was called: “Change the ending”.

First, she had to tell the beginning of her story. So, she sat BoBo up on her chair and began.

“Everything was fine. School was great. Life was fun. And then suddenly everything went wrong. Because of the coronavirus. Now Mum and Dad are always worried and stressed. I can’t see my friends. Nothing is normal.”

Okay, so that was the beginning. Now she had to make up a completely different ending to the story:

“Er… But one day, Grandma, Uncle Alan, Auntie Patti and Cousin Simon all came round for a delicious lunch and we all told stories and laughed. It was the perfect day.”

BoBo just looked at her.

“I know; stupid game.”

But then, like a bolt of lightning, she had the most wonderful idea! And a great big smile crept onto her face.

That night she could hardly sleep. She was making a plan. She told BoBo all about it and he thought it was great. She decided the plan needed a name, so she called it:

“Operation CoronaFamily”

Lily woke up with a start. She didn’t look at her alarm clock. She didn’t even think about school. She got straight up and went downstairs.

“Hello, Pip, you’re up late!” called Dad from the dining room, before putting on his headphones and closing the door ready for a Skype meeting.

“Don’t forget to do your classwork,” called mum as she shut the door on her way out.


Lily got dressed and launched her big plan.

Operation CoronaFamily Part 1.

She secretly called Grandma and told her what she needed. Grandma thought it was wonderful idea!

“Leave it with me,” she said.

Operation CoronaFamily Part 2.

Lily went into the kitchen. She emptied the dishwasher and filled it with the breakfast things. She cleaned the kitchen table with a cloth. She even swept the floor with the dustpan and brush!

In the living room, she put away all her toys and tidied her bookshelf. She fluffed the cushions on the sofa and stacked the coasters on the table. It looked very tidy. There was no need for Mum to do any cleaning today.

Operation CoronaFamily Part 3.

Dad was still in his office. Mum was due home any moment.

As soon as she heard mum come through the door, Lily turned on the TV as loud as it could go. And then she did something very naughty indeed; she hid the remote control!

Mum and Dad both burst into the living room wondering what all the noise was. They wanted to turn the volume down, but they couldn’t find the remote control anywhere!

While they were distracted, Lily moved on to:

Operation CoronaFamily Part 4

She ran into the dining room and pushed all of dad’s papers to one end of the table. Then she put out three knives, three forks, three plates, and three glasses.

Suddenly, she heard the TV go off.

“Lily! What was that about?” / “What’s going on here, Pip?”  they said as the came into the dining room and looked around, confused by the plates and cutlery.

“Mum, Dad, there is something very important for us to do,” she said, very confidently.

Then, as if by magical timing, the doorbell rang.

Mum opened the door, and was very surprised to see a white bag on the doorstep.

“Oh, Chinese!” she said as she came back into the dining room.

“What’s going on, Pip?” asked Dad.

Just then his laptop started ringing. It was a Skype Group call. But it was not a work meeting! It was Grandma, Uncle Alan, Auntie Patti and Cousin Simon!

They were all sitting in their own homes, each with some Chinese takeaway in front of them, and each waving at the screen.

“Surprise!” they said.

Mum and Dad were very surprised indeed! They both laughed for the first time in a week!

Everyone sat down to eat some delicious Chinese food: “Thanks, Grandma,” Lily whispered. Grandma winked.

They spend the whole lunch talking. They shared their feelings, told stories, and Lily told a very funny joke!

When they had all finished. They said goodbye but decided to make it a new CoronaFamily tradition—every Thursday!

Mum cleared the table and realized that Lily had cleaned the kitchen and the living room! There was no cleaning to do today! So, when Dad went out on his daily walk, Mum and Lily both joined him.

It was a cold but beautiful day. They wandered down to the stream and fed the ducks. They were hungry. Not many people came to the park these days.

Lily was just getting ready to throw more bread into the water, when she saw something move on the other side of the stream.

It was Rupesh! His family were also on a walk. He waved and laughed. It was great to see him… even if they were two meters apart!

Everyone talked across the stream for a while, but then waved goodbye as it started to get dark. 

The house was toasty warm when they got back. Mum made a pot of tea for her and Dad and great big cup of hot chocolate for Lily. Then and they all watched a movie about a doctor who could talk to animals!

It was the best CoronaFamily day ever.

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A big thank you to the talented actors who helped me with this story: