Before the pandemic, getting everyone in my family into one room was nearly impossible. My mom and dad on calls, my sister attending class, and my brother in the basement on his PlayStation meant I rarely had time to see them before dinner. But when we were hit with our first lockdown last year, I found myself spending the most time with my family than I ever had before. Over the course of one week, we were given hours, days, weeks to fill.
Quarantine gave us time. Unoccupied time, free from conventional responsibilities, that we could do anything we wanted with. Throughout the summer, my family spent this time clearing out a drawer under our bay window. A drawer that would soon be filled to the top with board games: Sequence, Clue, Code Names. You name it. We had it.
To fill our time, we thereafter assigned Fridays as Family Game Night. A night away from computer and phone screens. A night of laughing until our stomachs hurt. And a night of short-lived betrayal (Monopoly, I’m looking at you).
So when I ask myself what I’d keep, even when quarantine is long gone and we can go back to “normal”, it would be the time away from screens. The sore stomachs. The temporary bitterness. I’d say that’s an upgrade from staying in separate rooms until noon.