A Mother’s Quarantine Diary

A Mother's Quarantine Diary

Story and Photography by Julia Rendleman

I’ve always taken pictures of the kids. Not aggressively, but occasionally. I’m a freelance photojournalist and although I’ve had a few COVID-19 assignments, I’m mostly at home now with the boys. It seems natural to document this time at home. We do not have the virus that we know of, but we are doing our small part to protect everyone by staying home. #AloneTogether, as they say.

The first week we approached it as an “adventure.” We even had a schedule: Wake-up, eat breakfast, read books, go outside, eat lunch, nap, go outside again, watch TV, eat dinner, play quietly and finally sleep. We cut sea creature shapes out of construction paper and made an aquarium on the wall. We hunted pine cones in the park to take home and paint. We were having fun. We made sand castles and played t-ball. We were making the most of it. I had forgotten how precocious and wonderful my own children were.


The second week of isolation – the one we’re in now – is cold and rainy in central Virginia. We feel trapped. I’m agitated and my jaw is clenched. My oldest, Adrian, age 4, spiked a fever three days ago. Charlie, age 2, is confused. We are moving in a few days and he doesn’t understand why Mommy’s putting everything into boxes. He shows his frustration by clinging to me, crying and whining for attention and an explanation.

I’m learning to expect a little grief and a little joy each day. And I’m trying to realize that next week will be different than this one. Already I look back at the pictures we made from week one and I know they are definitely not week two images. What does next week have in store? We will wait and see.


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