Opinion: Quarantine brings family closer together, and not just physically

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Evie Klepp '22 hikes with her family before quarantine at the Bright Angel Trailhead. Photo courtesy of Evie Klepp '22.

Evie Klepp '22, Copy Editor

I can’t remember the last time my family was together for this long.

My dad’s work required him to travel, making him leave every Monday to the destination of the week and return home every Thursday, repeating the process every week. Since this is obviously not possible anymore, he has been tethered to our home and forced to work here.

While him being home has not caused any astronomical changes in the household, it would be wrong of me to say that our family dynamic is the same now as it was before quarantine.

Now, I’ve seen several posts on social media of families having big game nights, dress-up dinners, family walks and more. And while completely pleasant, those activities simply do not reflect the changes that have occurred in my household.

Our bonding came in the form of pull-up competitions in the kitchen using our door frame pull-up bar, or playing P.I.G. in the backyard at dusk. My siblings, my dad and I like to pass time by playing catch outside or watching Seinfeld and Parks and Rec. reruns. When the sun goes down, the European crime dramas from Netflix turn on. We have connected to each other through the little things that we didn’t have time for when actively going to school.

From an educational standpoint, our family being together has helped my siblings focus more on their schoolwork, as they are constantly reminded to turn in assignments and latework by my parents. No one can hide in their room and avoid schoolwork; my parents are always there to supervise us.

Beyond my immediate family, quarantine has brought my extended family much closer together. Every Friday at 6 p.m. we partake in a “Quarantine Happy Hour”, which is just about an hour and a half of recapping the week and just talking with each other via Zoom. Since we all live so far apart, moments like this were usually rare, but have been made very accessible and easy.

And while those moments have been great, being trapped has its downsides.

I don’t think my parents were prepared for the abrupt change from eight hours of peace and quiet every day to constant badgerment. As a result, their patience is running low and their fuses have shortened.

That’s not very surprising, however. Being parents in charge of three teenagers in a stressful time with stressful jobs is already hard enough; also constantly being asked things like, “When will dinner be ready?” does absolutely no good.

Nevertheless, I cannot thank parents enough during this time. It takes a lot of strength and energy to have constant supervision and care of and for your children with little to no breaks.

Whether quarantine has brought your family closer together or not, there is no better time than now to hug your family a little bit tighter. Please stay safe, and make sure to tell your friends and family that you love them a little bit more.