Quarantine at 19

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Published May 18, 2020
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The Montclarion
A late night family gathering in Emma Caughlan's room. Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

I live as part of a family of four. There’s my mom, my dad, my little sister and me, along with our dog, two indoor cats and one outdoor cat. We are all very close and despite not being able to get away from each other for the last two months, there have not been many problems.

I had prepared to see my family much less when I moved 2 1/2 hours away to go to college just nine months ago, so it was somewhat of a surprise to be spending the last three months of my freshman year of college doing homework in my childhood bedroom with my dog curled up beside me.

My mom is a nurse and recently started working with COVID-19 patients. She sleeps upstairs in the attic now and we are doing our best to avoid hugging her. This has been difficult, but compared to other families around the world today, we are doing well and I am extremely thankful for that.

My mom takes our dog for a walk on a rainy morning to avoid the crowd near Arlington Cemetery. Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

Emma Caughlan’s mom takes their dog for a walk on a rainy morning to avoid the crowd near Arlington Cemetery.
Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

We have a few routines as a family to get us through each day: My mom, my sister and I like to play a card game called “Dutch Blitz” every day after my mom gets home from work. This can be a tense and competitive game, especially for my sister. To my dad’s dismay, it gets quite loud; he works from home at the other end of the dining room table.

The ladies of the Caughlan family get ready for their daily game of “Dutch Blitz,” while my dad teleworks from home at the other half of the dining room table. Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

The ladies of the Caughlan family get ready for their daily game of “Dutch Blitz,” while the Caughlan sisters’ dad teleworks from home at the other half of the dining room table.
Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

Another Caughlan family routine includes watching a movie together every night, or at least trying to. There have been a few homework and Zoom call conflicts, but we have watched a movie together almost every night.

I have documented each movie that we have watched during this lockdown period. We are currently at 54 films.

The Caughlan family “Quarantine Movie List" thus far. Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

The Caughlan family “Quarantine Movie List” thus far.
Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

We have enjoyed some series like “Lord of the Rings,” the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, “Indiana Jones” and we have just started “Harry Potter.” The biggest issue among the family has been picking movies. We do not always agree and my sister is quite picky, but she is getting better.

A huge rock for us has been our dog, Zola. We have only had her for 1 1/2 years, but she has been a huge part of our life since then. She loves that we are all home all the time. She goes on lots of walks and gets plenty attention.

The Caughlan family takes Zola on a hike at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, at Tinicum. Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

The Caughlan family takes Zola on a hike at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum.
Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

My dad plays Zola’s favorite game with her, tug. Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

Emma Caughlan’s dad plays Zola’s favorite game with her: Tug.
Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

I am thankful for this time with Zola. We got her to help my family cope with my leaving for college. I never thought I would get to spend this much time with her.

Ginger, my cat, and Zola join me while I do my school work. Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

Ginger, Emma Caughlan’s cat, and Zola join her while she does school work.
Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

The cats are not as thrilled with our constant presence in their house, but they are adapting, particularly our cat Melissa. Normally, she is not very friendly and can be mean, but lately she has been pleasant and loving, so maybe she just missed us.

Melissa giving my mom a loving pat on the face. Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

Emma Caughlan’s cat Melissa giving her mom a loving pat on the face.
Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

My sister and I have gotten closer over the last two months. Our bedrooms are connected, so we are together almost all day. Sometimes we fight, but nothing that has lasted longer than a few hours.

My sister grooving to some Taylor Swift in the back seat while on a drive around town. Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

My sister grooving to some Taylor Swift in the back seat while on a drive around town.
Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

She has been extremely supportive of me during this lockdown and I do my best to be just as helpful to her when she needs it. This can be a lonely time and I am thankful to have a friend around to get me through this.

My sister prepares for a family game of Monopoly outside on a warm day with a bowl of Kraft macaroni and cheese. Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

Emma Caughlan’s sister prepares for a family game of Monopoly outside on a warm day with a bowl of macaroni and cheese.
Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

I am also lucky enough to live close to both my boyfriend and my best friend. Occasionally, they come sit in my backyard or we hike the trail near our houses.

When the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds flew over the Philadelphia area, my parents allowed both of them to sit on our roof, hoping we could see the flyover from there. We saw the jets just above the homes across from us.

My sister, boyfriend and best friend sit on our roof hoping to spot the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels flying over the Philadelphia area. Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

Emma Caughlan’s sister, boyfriend and best friend sit on her roof hoping to spot the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels flying over the Philadelphia area.
Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

Earlier this week, I asked a family friend to cut my boyfriend’s hair. He had been complaining about it repeatedly and I could not handle it anymore. They did it in our kitchen while I stayed in the other room and everybody wore masks. They were out in 10 minutes and both my boyfriend and I were relieved.

My boyfriend gets his first haircut in months in our kitchen. Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

Emma Caughlan’s boyfriend gets his first haircut in months in her kitchen.
Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

We have tried a few socially distanced gatherings as a family. This past week was a family friend’s sixteenth birthday. My family and I were invited to have some cake in their driveway with them.

We get together with this family often, but never like this. We sat in their driveway in our own camp chairs, about 10 feet apart from them. The cake was placed on the ground in between the two families. We each had to use our own bowls and server.

Some birthday cake placed in the middle of our family friend’s driveway for their daughter at her “socially-distanced birthday gathering." Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

Some birthday cake placed in the middle of the Caughlan’s family friend’s driveway for their daughter at her “socially-distanced birthday gathering.”
Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

Last month, I celebrated my nineteenth birthday. I did not expect much, just takeout for dinner with my family while watching “Thor: Ragnorok.” Little did I know, my mom had planned a surprise drive-by party for me.

A group of my friends gather in my front yard to surprise me for my birthday. Photo courtesy of Bill Caughlan

A group of Emma Caughlan’s friends gather in her front yard to surprise her for her birthday.
Photo courtesy of Bill Caughlan

It ended up being more of a gathering in my front yard for about 15 minutes. We threw a Frisbee around while wearing gloves and caught up as much we could and then they left. It was one of the best birthdays I have had in a long time.

These things are no longer possible, as my mom just started working with COVID-19 patients a few days ago. I am now in full quarantine because of this, which means staying away from everyone for the time being.

I imagine that my mom will be working with more COVID-19 patients in the future, so I am not sure what the future holds for the Caughlan family, but if it means more movie nights, dog walks and bonfires, I think we will be just fine.

My dad playing campfire songs on the guitar in our backyard for my sister and the rest of the family. Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

Emma Caughlan’s dad playing campfire songs on the guitar in their backyard for her sister and the rest of the family.
Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

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