An Introvert Mourns the Loss of Quiet in Quarantined Family Life
"I know there are many people home alone during this time—and I feel for them. I also often want to be them."
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What has happened to us all, I ask myself not infrequently. How did we get here and adapt so seamlessly to this completely absurd lifestyle? All those plans for spring break, camp, soccer, baseball, piano lessons—discussed, debated, and made—now moot. The last time I spent this much continuous time with my kids, they were newborns.
Again, I am so grateful that we have enough resources to get us through this surreal period, but I am a person who likes her quiet, an introvert who embraces those few hours in the day when no one is home and I can be in my own head. Ever since we’ve been stuck in this coronavirus quarantine, that quiet is gone.
Every half hour or so I hear: “Mom! Where are you?!” Or: “Mom, can you help me with this?” We recently adopted a rescue dog who also now needs my attention at all times. I’ve started hiding out—sometimes in my car in an empty parking lot—hoping for a few minutes of peace. Occasionally I’ll turn on a white noise machine or even use earplugs for some silence. I desperately miss those days when the kids were in school until 3pm and I didn’t have to be the one to make sure Mack did his science experiment or Nate finished his ELA assignment. I miss my own private lunchtime without dishes or discussion. I know there are many people home alone during this time—and I feel for them. I also often want to be them.
One day soon we’ll return to our distinct daily lives, back on our own, with stories to tell. Will we mourn the loss of this quarantined existence—the connectedness, the quiet domesticity, and family intimacy that this isolated life has provided?
I think we will.
But for now, we soldier on to tomorrow when we will do the same thing again—minus the Sharpie drawing, I hope.