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How the coronavirus is forcing a family to slow down

From mandates to work from home to massive school closures, the coronavirus has transformed the lives of millions of Americans. NewsHour Weekend's Christopher Booker gives us a firsthand account of how the pandemic is impacting his family.

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  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    Sheltering in place means different things to different people. For some it is lonely, even dangerous. For others more fortunate, it can actually create new family opportunities. Newshour Weekend's Christopher Booker considers himself one of the lucky ones.

  • Christopher Booker:

    Our family Saturdays have always seemed to contradict the purpose of Saturdays: to unwind from the week.

    The day always passed with a relentless tempo, as we moved from one obligation to the next. Mornings swimming lessons, usually followed by a birthday party, baby shower, barbecue, you name it – and somewhere in-between a budget blowing run to Target or Costco.

    There would certainly be a missed nap for our 3-year-old. And both kids would usually crumble from their sugar highs in the early afternoon. The day most likely ending with neither parent sure if our weekend was half-finished or half-begun.

    But this is our Saturday now. We walk. Sometimes just down the street, sometimes on the bike path behind our house and today, on a nearby trail.

    We have been social distancing for four weeks. Each has been a little less confusing than the last. Our attempts at simultaneously running a nursery school and a first grade classroom are showing signs of promise – though I am not entirely convinced our kids' teachers would agree.

    And as the weeks have passed, a routine has set in. And it has come with — if I 'm being honest — a feeling of guilt.

    While there have been challenges and frustrations in our attempts to fill the hours for two very active kids, what our family has been asked to do pales in comparison to what health care workers on the front-lines are doing just a few miles down the road from us.

    But, when we're out walking, the day slows. Anxiety remains, but it loses ground against playing drums on a tree or listening to the spring peepers, those tiny frogs that sing of winter's end, small little details that I can't believe we had left out of our Saturdays before.

    But now part of something that helps our family feel normal, at least for a little bit.

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