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Finding the joy we can in quarantine

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My two-year-old son has a new habit of constantly asking me what time it is.

“It’s 4 o’clock,” I’ll say.

“Oh,” Max will reply, matter of factly. “What’s that mean?”

To a toddler, time is a meaningless concept. With days punctuated only by snacks and naps, the actual hour and minute is hollow. And for the past month or so, I’ve felt the same. Mornings melt into evenings. Hours blur into days, and days run into weeks. When there’s nowhere to be but home, and nothing to do but stay put, who really needs a clock?

I’ve filled some of this muddied time working from home. I’ve interviewed people via phone, and corresponded with my coworkers through texts and emails. All the while working also as a stay-at-home mom, occupying and caring for Max, who is blissfully unaware of why we suddenly have so many “mama days.”

Other stretches of time have been consumed with worry. Will my husband, an essential worker, get sick? Will he bring illness home to me or our son? What will happen to my job? What about my coworkers? Is my mom and family OK? What kind of mask should I be wearing?

And still other times have felt almost magical. When else would I have the chance to play catch in the yard in the middle of Wednesday morning? I’ve read books, baked bread and watched movies. My husband, who was in night school, is home for dinner and bathtime. My little family -- the dog included -- feels as close-knit as ever.

There is no one way to feel about what’s going on in the world right now. Just because some times are scary and hard, doesn’t mean other times can’t feel joyful. Seeing a silver lining doesn’t mean you’re pretending that everything is good. But soaking in the special moments that sneak into these trying times can help us -- and our children -- remember that there’s light at the end of the quarantine.

However the pandemic has affected your family, I hope we’re all able to find even just one blurry moment to see a break in the clouds.

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