We are in the third week of all five of us being home. The animals are bewildered, delighted, and exhausted. We’ve severely cramped their napping schedule. Sean and I are finding a rhythm. It’s inconsistent and unpredictable because we can’t forecast which of us will have an emotional dip. When we fall into the darkness, the other rallies and takes the lead on managing the schedule. The girls have been unbelievable. They tackle their school work, follow a loose daily plan, and actually hang out with one another.

They haven’t had a miraculous turn around on excitement about changing the cat litter or doing the dishes, but I think I was bracing for way more fighting and complaining. Ha! The fretting is way more likely to come from Sean and me as we binge-watch the what-ifs in our heads. All the things the experts say are right—set a routine, talk about the items you want to accomplish, don’t eat straight from the bag. Actually, maybe that’s just me.

It’s Tuesday, which means last night we watched The Voice as a family. The novelty of staying up late has worn off, and the girls peeled off to bed before the second hour of the show had ended. Hanging out with us has not become old, so we’ll be doing family game night. It’s pretty funny because we are right on the line—Briar is nearly sixteen, and Finley is on the very tail end of eleven. We have erred a bit on the side of mature games when certain cards come up; we decide to pass or we learn a new phrase. (awkward laugh)

Talking about the quarantine is fair game—will such and such get canceled? Probably. Do you think we’ll go back to school? I’m not sure. Are you guys scared? A little bit, yes.

I’ve stopped judging myself about what time we eat, how long I am at the computer, how energetic or lethargic I am feeling. I remember on What Not to Wear they used to say, “Dress the body that you have.” Right now I am focused on living the life that we have. It feels unfamiliar and oppressive, but also like a tremendous blessing.

We have electricity, the tools we need for work, and school, and we have one another. Hugs in the kitchen, Minecraft marathons on a big sister’s bed, animals to play hide and seek with, and this big online community to turn to for comfort advice, and friendship.

Here’s a piece of homework Finley did for her beloved chorus teacher. The assignment was to share a song that was helping students get through the quarantine.