By Julia Furmanek
My baby sister has always been a bit of a homebody. As soon as she could form full sentences, she’d ask the same exact question as soon as she woke up: “Is today a ‘stay-home’ day?”
Now she is six years old, her dad has taken to stockpiling nonperishables in his sock drawer in preparation for the apocalypse and every day is a stay-home day. And she is living her best life.
Not only does she have round-the-clock access to a cookie-filled pantry and the liberty to binge watch toy unboxings on YouTube, but my sister wears whatever she wants, whenever she wants. Our mornings are now free of my mom’s explanations about why it isn’t appropriate to wear a leotard to school, or why rain boots aren’t everyday attire.
The simple freedom to wear a tutu at 2 p.m. seems small, but with distance and time from this concept of “every day” I realize that it isn’t; in a society as complex as ours, routine is important and it starts in the classroom. Not to say that my sister doesn’t gain much from being in school, but the time we have spent in quarantine has shown me what she and myself (and every other person who was once a child and had to learn why you can’t just wear costumes out in public whenever you want to) lost in the “every day.”
Sure, we’ve spent the past month confined by the walls of our house, yet I don’t think we’ve ever had so much freedom. My sister makes this obvious, sitting upside down to do her homework, running laps around the kitchen whenever the spirit moves her and so on. But I’ve had my own subtle victories this quarantine, like learning to let myself sleep in.
In light of all of these changes, my sister and I have adopted a new mantra: “because we can.” This is applicable in basically all contexts these days, but it brought with it one special moment I think I’ll cherish forever, especially as we return to normalcy and all of the old rules that come with it.
Our parents had gone out for a run in the neighborhood on Sunday morning, so my sister, the dog and I had the house to ourselves. Seeing as there are 14 years between us, we have different conceptions of what “going wild” means, but we still could not waste such an opportunity.
So, we had ice cream for breakfast in bed. And the dog had some too. Minor infractions, I realize. But in the age of “stay-home” days, every taste of freedom counts.