By: Caroline Larson
On March 13, for everyone in PA, Governor Wolfe canceled school. It was originally put on pause for two weeks, and then another added two weeks, until eventually, school was closed for the rest of the year. I, like many of my classmates, have been stuck in quarantine for the past two months. While they may be living with their parents and a sibling or two, I have been living with six other people: my mom, my dad, my brother, my grandpa, my grandma, and my nephew. Living with seven people, including myself, does not just mean extra precautionary measures, but also lots of patience and adaptation.
Before quarantine, all of us were able to take a break from one another through some sort of busy time. My mom, my brother, my nephew, and I would go to school, my dad would go to work, and my grandparents would run any errands that they needed to do. It was time where we all had such a busy routine that dinner time was our only moment to tell each other about our daily activities. Then the pandemic changed everything.
It has been an adaption for all of us. We are not used to being together twenty-four seven, so we all have to learn what our boundaries are. Usually, my brother and I stay in our rooms to do our homework or do some activities by ourselves. My mom is often cooking or cleaning in the afternoons since she is busy in the mornings with my nephew. If it is nice out, my grandma cleans up around the house outside or goes out with my grandpa to do groceries. My grandpa, well, he just sits around due to health issues. He cannot do very much anymore, so we try not to aggravate him too much. My dad comes home around three in the afternoon, and, from there, he is usually outside working on the garage or in the garden. By six it is dinner, and then my mom calls my grand-maman in Quebec, since we cannot go see her. During this time, my brother, dad, and I watch something together like Mr. Robot. After, the four of us play a game together then go to bed.
We had to learn to be more patient with each other and to rely on one another. There is no one else who is going to help us because we all have to keep our distance. Sometimes there are harder days than others, but we still learn to push through it. It is not easy. There are three generations living in the same house with different views on a difficult situation. No new faces are going to turn around the corner; it is us and only us during these long periods of time.
Not everything is negative. It is also a time where we can enjoy time with each other, where we can start new projects we always wanted to work on because we previously had no time to do them. For example, my parents finally had the chance to clean out our garage and I had been able to sit down and paint. My mom, dad, brother, and I have been able to do game nights, movie nights, etc., more often because we have the time to. My grandma, grandpa, nephew, brother, and I sometimes go out for ice cream, wearing our masks, of course. We can spend more time with each other and make memories that will last forever, even if it is not in the greatest situation. We learn new things about each other every day, and we are thankful that we can all be together during the pandemic.
This whole pandemic might seem like an eternity, but life is short. Enjoy every happy moment that you and your family share together. I might be surrounded by a large household, but I also make time to share moments with my family abroad. Everyone is experiencing the pandemic at different levels. Not everyone is able to have a large family to be around, but sometimes that is okay. Be grateful for the moments you are able to spend together because you never know when it could all end. And remember, we are alone together.