Quarantine in the Eyes of a Five Year Old

pix-schoolAs the world reeled from the COVID-19 global health pandemic, Filipinos found themselves in community quarantine, in an effort by the government to contain the spread of the disease. Public transport was halted, and movements of individuals were limited. Everything was at a standstill.

Local governments scrambled to address the pandemic in their own localities. Many leaders stepped forward to offer innovative solutions. Some went the extra mile to provide the needs of their constituents. Civilians found ways to pitch in to support frontliners. The Bayanihan Spirit was very much alive and it was heartening to know that we still had leaders who can inspire.

Despite our best efforts as a nation, there were still millions of Filipinos who struggled with the quarantine. Sidelined for work and unable to earn a living as businesses closed their doors to adhere to government directives, the working class was hardest hit by the economic impacts of the pandemic.

I was fortunate enough to be able to work from home amid all these. I had a stable source of income to support my family. My loved ones were not sick. Amid the uncertainty, these few blessings gave me comfort.

Adults struggled with the impact of the quarantine — the paranoia that goes with the knowledge of the growing number of COVID-19 positive patients in the country, the challenges of adopting to the new normal, the mental toil of wondering what the future holds.

The struggle was real for everybody.  Purchasing supplies from the grocery entailed hours of lining up and disinfection upon returning home. Kids shifted from on site to online schooling. Internet and e-commerce became necessities in the new normal for work, learning and entertainment.

As I wrestled with these thoughts, I realized that children have a different view of the quarantine and the pandemic.

From the onset of the lockdown, we have taught my five year old nephew (he turned five during quarantine),  about the Coronavirus and what dangers it poses. As a matter of fact, he was the constant source of reminder my dad not to go out because the elderly was more vulnerable to the disease.

However, throughout the ECQ period, I observed that he never once complained about being stuck indoors. While he was used to spending time at the malls before the quarantine, he hardly ever mentioned going out this whole time.

This prompted me to ask him if he missed going out. Of course he did, he admitted, but it was okay for him to stay indoors for even longer. In fact, he didn’t mind if we worked from home forever.

He said he was very happy this whole time to have us all at home. He could spend more time playing video games with his dad. He could spend mornings, afternoons and breaktimes cuddling with his mom. He could have study time with ahma (my mom), wushu time with angkong (my dad) and going to zoom class with ahko (me) as his classmate.

Sure, he missed going to the playground, spending summertime at the beach, and going to school to meet his classmates. So instead of going out, we set up our own beach in our garage. We met his classmates via online classes. We made makeshift slides and roller coasters with pillows on the bed. He said he the happiest to have us all together at home. And that was what was important.

Amid all of the alarming news and the issues that threatened my peace of mind,  I was stunned that the quarantine could seem so different in the eyes of a child. Indeed, I realized that we were able to spend more time as a family in these three months than the last three years put together.

Yes, we were blessed to be in the position to help, rather than the ones to need help. We had a roof over our heads, we had food in our bellies and we had time to spend with each other. It was a simple and honest truth.

It is true that we have a long way to go to resolve this pandemic. Things may get a lot worse before it gets better and 2020 is really doing its best to roll out red carpet for bad news. However, for the meantime,  it will not hurt to focus on the small bright spots in this endless wave of challenges to inspire us to move forward.

***

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This story is an entry to ComCo Southeast Asia’s “Write to Ignite Blogging Project”. The initiative is a response to the need of our times, as every story comes a long way during this period of crisis. Igniting and championing the human spirit, “Write to Ignite Blog Project” aims to pull and collate powerful stories from the Philippine blogging communities to inspire the nation to rise and move forward amidst the difficult situation. This project is made possible by ComCo Southeast Asia, co-presented by Eastern Communications and sponsored by Electrolux, Jobstreet and Teleperformance.

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