Wilton Warrior Words: Together
For the past month or so in the United States specifically, the coronavirus crisis has progressively taken over the lives of Americans — of our health professionals and the workplace in general. It has dominated all conversation and media, brought school to a halt, and for the time, completely converted us into a virtual society. As fearful, confused, panicked, stressed, irritated, misinformed, or misled we all might feel right now, I can’t help but be thankful for the effect life in quarantine has had on my family.
My family has been under a particularly large amount of stress this past year. We recently moved down South, but made the decision for me to finish out my senior year in Wilton. With our family scattered across the states, we rarely find ourselves enjoying a “normal” weekend all together that doesn’t entail busy holiday break agendas, like Thanksgiving or Christmas, or rushed three-day-weekend visits.
I have now been in quarantine down South with my family for over a week, and I can already say that this “normalcy” has returned.
My sister and I are back to fighting over clothes, and I find myself intervening with my youngest sisters’ silly arguments once more. I can no longer get away with laundry on my floor, but I am happy to say that my mother gladly washes my clothes for me once more. I have exchanged some responsibilities of running a home — such as doing my own laundry, cooking, cleaning and time management — for my former role as a big sister, babysitter, caretaker, and team member contributing to the fine-tuned machine in a house of six.
So yes, it’s as if time stopped over the school year, and I came back and all resumed to how it was, but under the country’s current conditions, I feel a change within our household. There are definitely times where we find ourselves getting stir crazy and sending the youngest “out of our hair,” as my mother likes to say, on bikes for an hour or so, but I also find us getting along in a way we never have before.
My sister Emma, usually quite defensive when corrected, or offered help, sat with me for five hours asking for and taking my advice on her fifth-grade social studies project. I taught her the importance of properly researching her topic and creating a citation page for her sources. Together we brainstormed ideas for her creative writing piece that went along with the project.
I have played more games, and watched more children’s TV shows with my youngest sister Lila than I have in months. I think I have only laughed with her thus far — not a single argument, tear, or lecture.
My 16-year-old sister, Annabelle, practiced her driving with me, bringing me to all her favorite views near our new home. She updated me on her life, and even let me wear a pair of her socks. Big steps folks, big steps.
Every night we’ve had time to make a home-cooked meal — there are no sports or activities that interfere with a family dinner. We talk amongst each other, and sometimes we even FaceTime other family members formulating a virtual “dinner party.” Oftentimes it is difficult to steer conversation away from the never-ending media updates on the status of the coronavirus, but when the pandemic woes weigh us down, we play some Bob Marley, or sing to Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer,” and suddenly we find ourselves dancing — horrifically — together.
I know I am just a high school senior. I know I don’t have a job, or a family to financially support yet, but I do know that these are stressful times, and I do know that I can contribute to supporting my family and myself in many ways. I can distract them; I can sing, dance, laugh, talk, teach, and motivate. I think we’re finding that we can all support each other, quarantine or not, as long as we’re together.
Madeline Pennino is a senior at Wilton High School. She shares this column with three classmates.