Before the pandemic, there was a constant bustle in my house. All three Carter children play sports year round. I was a part of acapella groups and play productions at North, and my parents have plenty of after-school obligations that come with their jobs as music teachers. We’re lucky to have one night with all of us at home for dinner, and yet it’s usually full of stressful bickering as everyone tries to unwind from a long day of hard work.
But when the pandemic hit, there was an eerie silence that fell over the Carter household. Sports paused, meetings were cancelled, and we bunkered down for a long (admittedly much longer than anticipated) break from normal life. Without being able to engage in all of our activities, there was a hole in our lives that needed to be filled. So we started going on hikes together, watching movies together, cooking meals together. As we spent more and more time together, some conflicts inevitably rose. But overall, we grew closer together, became more comfortable spending time together, and made lasting memories along the way. Before the pandemic, a family event on Sunday (our only “free” day of the week) would be met with groans, complaining, and discontent throughout. But now, we leapt at the chance to leave the house and enjoy ourselves, no matter how short or long a time we spent together.
In terms of what I’ll keep; what I want to keep after the pandemic is the togetherness and closeness among my family. I want us to continue to make an effort to spend time with each other, even if it means missing a day of practice or turning in a homework assignment a few hours late. Because as I’ve learned, you can’t put a price tag on time with family. No matter how annoying they may seem, how absurd a conflict is, or how difficult it may be to get along, family are the people who love and care about you the most. So spend time with them. Especially with college right around the corner, I’ve come to realize that there are only a few years left until none of us will be living under the same roof. All in all, I will try to take advantage of the little time left with my family, and begin to truly appreciate my family for the love and joy they’ve given me, both within and outside of the pandemic.