Quarantined Together: Maybe it’s actually… kind of fun?
By David Michael Howarth, photographer

My wife, Dale, and I are taking the “stay at home” orders very seriously. One year ago now, our 6-year-old son, Sawyer, had open heart surgery for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, which is a thickening of the heart. Having a high-risk kid means we locked it down pretty tightly in our house to limit exposure as much as possible. Overall, everyone is handling it really well, but it’s hard for a 6-year-old to fully grasp why he can’t see his friends.

While I may be out of work as a photographer, I switched to a job that’s more demanding in many ways: homeschool teacher. I didn’t know how hard teaching could be until I found myself spending several hours a day going over math and reading with a 6 year old. He needs a lot of coaching, so it’s pretty intense. Sawyer knows his math, but sight words…not so much. Teaching was definitely not my calling!

Meanwhile, my wife Dale is homeschooling our daughter Brynn, a second grader. This while also doing her full-time job from home. At 8, Brynn can work independently for about a half hour before needing help. It’s teamwork at its finest, and really gives me appreciation for teachers, who do this every day – with more than one kid at a time no less!

This family quarantine has brought us together like never before. We hike more, mountain bike and kayak together more, and are getting to know each other as a family at a level we never knew existed. If not for this pandemic, we’d never be able to tap into this much togetherness as a family. My daughter has been jumping in with me during my morning workouts. Brynn loves doing the same exercises I’m doing. Which either means she’s incredible for keeping up with a full-grown man, or I need to step up my workouts. I think it’s probably that she’s incredible.

It’s actually been fun not having the distractions of normal life getting in the way. For a while at least.

May 1, 2020
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