It’s hard to keep a social butterfly under the net of a coronavirus stay-at-home order too long.
One day, our 11-year-old daughter walked into the room, playing a few chords on her ukulele and belting out these lyrics:
“Quarantine, I hate quarantine.
I’m stuck inside a house.
I just wanna be out.
I go on walks, but it’s not enough.
Quarantine, I hate you.”
I stopped her for a moment. I reminded her that she’s not under quarantine. That’s when you can’t leave a particular room until you’re proven not to have the disease. She’s under a stay-at-home order, where she’s supposed to social distance herself from people to keep the virus from spreading. She stared at me a second and began belting out a revised version:
“Social distancing, I hate social distancing …”
All this time cooped up in a house is hard for everyone, but I know it’s harder on her than it is on me.
Most of the elements of social distancing don’t sound so bad to me. I’d rather have all conversations at a distance of at least 6 feet. I don’t particularly like hugging, kissing or shaking hands with anyone outside my family. Seclusion sounds like a dream, not a nightmare to an introvert like me.
She is not an introvert. Somehow, the spawn of two introverts is a giant extrovert who loves to live life out loud. The girl who never stays in one place too long now isn’t supposed to walk down the street to visit her friend’s house.
It’s not like she hasn’t tried to make the most of her time stuck in our house with her sisters:
• One day, she put on a sweatshirt with her legs stuck through the armholes but her head still in the appropriate opening.
• She built a funky hat with an intricate pattern of plastic straws.
• She’s mastered those video-chatting services, doing everything from chatting to playing games to helping each other through minor haircuts.
I know it’s frustrating her for what she’s missing too. She hasn’t been able to practice or play on a travel basketball team that selected her just before the virus hit. She missed out on going to a weeklong camp with her sixth-grade class, too. They should be putting the finishing touches on dances for her recital.
This is all while she’s still learning to be a big sister. She was the baby of our family for years, which comes with a certain amount of built-in attention. A few years ago, we became foster parents, with a long-term placement in our home now that will permanently shift her mindset about who’s the youngest.
She’s still her same spunky self, though. She pushes for us to have family game nights, whether playing video games, board games or card games. And she wouldn’t be herself if she didn’t share a joke.
“‘Have you heard of the guy who had his left arm cut off? He’s all right,’” she told me. “I just thought that was a brilliant joke.”
If we all have a little bit of her spark, we’re all going to be all right.
David Trinko is managing editor of The Lima News, a division of AIM Media Midwest.