A Mother’s Quarantine Diary

A Mother's Quarantine Diary - Part 2

Story and Photography by Julia Rendleman

It’s week five now, right? I think so. Time is not like it was before where there was work to do, play dates to be had or beers to drink in public with friends. Some days drag on forever – the days when the boys are misbehaving, or when it’s raining. Those days last until I just drag my body into bed and try to sleep. Charlie, my two-year-old, calls night time “Dark Day.” That’s how I know another day is coming, when it’s Dark Day again.

Some days – regular, Light Days – are great. Me and the boys explore our new home. (Yes, we moved in the middle of a pandemic.) We didn’t move far, but now we have a little land. We stomp around outside in the mud and make proper messes. That makes the day fun and it’s easy to ignore the truth about why we never leave to go to the park or have a playdate or go to school.

Other days, Adrian, who is 4, misses school. He misses people because he is a people person. He loved school. He asks to visit my parents, who live hundreds of miles away at “Granddad’s Farm.”

“We can’t visit Granddad’s Farm for a while,” I tell him.

“Why,” he asks, and then, “Well, I know why.”

“Why,” I ask, curious about what he will say.

“Because of the virus. The virus is the worst thing in the whole entire world,” he says.

He means “worst thing in the whole entire world” the way all kids do. In kids’ books there is only “the best ever” or “the worst ever.” It was the best “Paw Patrol rescue mission ever!” It was the best “birthday party Cupcake ever had!” Terrible. Fantastic. That’s it. There are no shades of gray.

I go in and out of missing assignments and being a working photojournalist. Some days I miss taking photographs of strangers. I miss moving their stray hairs out of their face before we make the portrait. There is a lot of time now but not so much time that I can dwell on my identity as a photojournalist – something I’ve been for much longer than I’ve been a mother. There are bigger problems, if I really need to worry about something. So I don’t. We move along, in and out of days. We are not having the best days ever, but we are far from having the worst days possible.

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