Quotes from the Q: Fatherhood in Quarantine
By a thread.
It’s exactly how sturdy the string—one end attached to my son’s monster truck frame, the other to a superhero—seems to be doing these days.
Side note: Not entirely sure who is pulling who in this situation. So, yes, one of them is hanging in there.
By a thread is also me some days.
It may be you.
It’s probably just about everyone at this point. That virus, of which I shall not write its name, has been all-consuming for months now.
On the positive side, that has meant more time around my goofballs as I attempt to work remotely. It’s a silver lining, and I am a big believer that we have to mine as much silver as possible these days.
My oldest, Cooper, knows that we are all staying apart from the rest of the world to remain healthy. His anxiety level is at 0.1 about the entire topic. As long as we keep the juice boxes flowing and bedtimes generous, he has no concerns.
My youngest, Milo, is completely unaware. Anxiety level: 0.0. Take him outside and he’s curious why humanity ever went away to work in the first place.
In some columns, I have written to you some of my suggestions on a particular topic. Instead of regaling you with my questionable insight into parenting, I want to share with you a story: our story.
Since we all got extra comfortable with each other, there has been a pattern of requests and yells and other verbal incantations flying around my house these days. Here is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to quotes emanating from my house these days…
“Daaadd. I’m hungry.” -Milo every four minutes.
“Daaadd. I’m hungry.” -Cooper every 90 seconds. (I am still trying to figure out if the two of them remind me more of a swarm of locusts or termites chewing through everything in sight).
“Awesome, this food should easily last us a 2-3 weeks.” -Me, moments after returning from grocery shopping.
“Wow, I need to go out again?!!” -Me, about three days later.
“I’m going to blow you up!” -Cooper, chasing me around in a video game that mixes playing soccer with cars. He may need to be weaned from this game soon. His need for blood (specifically mine) is a little too high in these close quarters.
“Can we bake something tonight??” -Milo about five minutes after helping with making the batter for chocolate chip cookies. There was even a follow-up question about this as he attempted to lick a few pieces of rogue chocolate off his candy-coated face while eating said cookies.
“Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!” -Both kids once the video chatting sessions with family and friends start. Also, the sound I am guessing the built-in computer microphones are making from the overwhelming noise.
“Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh!!!!!!!!!!” -Both kids after being told for the ninth time to turn their volume down a few notches and stop bringing every toy they own to the video chat.
“Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh.” -Either myself or my wife after the kids finally submit to their exhaustion for the day. Please note the lack of exclamation points for a more soothing, flop-on-the-couch-lifeless tone.
“We need more bricks!!” -Cooper working on one of his 30-day Lego challenges. Essentially, he starts building, I try my best to keep up with him by fetching loose pieces (known affectionately as bricks), and try my best to please one of the pickiest contractors I have ever worked with.
“Whhhhhhyyyyyyyyy???” -Milo every single nice day we have to eventually come inside to do things like eat or sleep.
“Hi dad. You look nice today.” -Cooper cleverly angling to get some sort of food or game to play that he otherwise should not be having. Come on, buddy, I am wearing torn sweatpants and a wrinkled football jersey. I may look post-apocalyptic-posh, but let’s not mince words here. At least it works nicely as “work attire” for now.
“I must say thank you foreverythingyou have done for us so far during this crisis.” -Me, after finally breaking down and purchasing Disney Plus, especially on those rainy days that force even quarantine into a tighter space.
Finally, there is one saying that has mostly been directed at me, based on a meme I read back in late March (no author, but thank you to whomever muttered this phrase). It applies to work, but you can see its utility:
“You are not working from home. You are at home, during a crisis, trying to work.”
You, my dear readers, are also not just living at home, but managing a full-on crisis, trying to be a parent. I hope you, and everyone you dwell with, manages to find as much patience and empathy as possible. And whatever is said, is said during a time of unique crisis. Cut yourself an extra piece of slack. And them.
Yes, some days feel like we are down and out, hanging by one final thread. But your thread is still a strong thread.
Be safe out there, and also…
“Thank you to all those in the medical field, grocers, trash haulers, emergency personnel, police and fire, and other necessary workers for everything you are doing during this time. You are heroic and make our lives work. Thank you.” -All four of us.
Josh Farnsworth is a husband, father of goofballs Cooper and Milo, goofball himself, and award-winning writer and columnist living in Worcester. He can be reached for column ideas at email@example.com.