There’s a fork missing from my kitchen. That’s because it’s been repurposed as the sole playing piece in my children’s latest game, “Hide the Fork.” My teenager and college student inadvertently invented this game after my teen found a wayward fork in her sister’s bedroom and subsequently hid it from her. The game took off, and now my big kids derive so much entertainment from sneaking around hiding the fork from each other that I’m thinking of nominating it as “Best Use of Cutlery in a Quarantine-Friendly Role.”
I’ve always been grateful my children have each other to travel through life together, but I’ve never been more thankful for their sisterhood than I am now. Of all the reasons I’m relieved my daughters are spending the great stay-home 2020 in the same house, these five easily top the list.
Five Reasons Why I’m Thankful
1. They look out for each other emotionally.
A few nights ago, after family dinner #7,538, my college student was in a funk (home college-ing is not a walk in the park, people). She trudged upstairs, and after a couple minutes, my high schooler said she was going up to “fix” her sister. Not long after that, I heard the sound of both their voices shouting with laughter and knew my teen’s mission had been accomplished.
Generally speaking, my girls take turns being on an emotional upswing or downturn. That means one of them is usually available to “fix” the other—even when that “fixing” means just letting them be for a while.
2. They’re making the most of bonus time together.
Neither of my children is supposed to be home as much as they are right now. In all likelihood, neither will be home together this much again EVER. They’re both juniors: one in college and the other in high school. While everything in life is in flux these days, this much is pretty certain: a couple of years from now, these sisters will be going their separate ways, and the ways they go may very possibly put a lot of miles between them.
For now, this unprecedented time together is an unexpected gift, and my children are, thank goodness, making the most of it. Not very many years down the road, I suspect the memories from this season will be part of the relational glue that holds them together even when they’re apart.
3. They’re unfiltered friends.
Both my children have close friends outside our family—friends they stay in touch with these days via text and FaceTime and the occasional drive-by honk-and-wave. These are true friends with whom my girls can mostly be fully themselves. But there is just nothing quite like a friend who is also your sister, because while “friend” status can change, the sister designation is set in blood. My girls have seen all of each other’s moods and know all their quirks, and even if they aren’t crazy about every one of these, they sure are crazy about each other.
4. They entertain each other.
In addition to “Hide the Fork,” my big kids have recently resurrected the Nintendo Wii. They’ve taken to playing it during study breaks—which makes for great stress relief, to say nothing of TOTALLY vindicating me for never having gotten around to putting it away. They also send each other funny videos and memes and texts and generally fill in a big chunk of the socializing gap left by our state’s stay-home mandate.
5. They help each other out.
Neither of my students has been bored for a single second of quarantine. This is partly because their school classes have continued online, with very little reduction in expectations or workload. But the greater reason “I don’t have anything to do” isn’t something I’ve heard much is because any potentially unoccupied hours have been spent continuing to teach and take dance classes via video.
“Will you come look at this new choreography?” is on a repeat loop around here, and they’re always willing to give one another useful feedback. Sometimes, this feedback sounds brutally honest to my ears: “Um, yeah, that looks dumb.” But other times, their informed assessment of each other’s work rings beautifully: “Wow, sis, you are amazing.”
From my spot in our one-fork-down kitchen, I can hear my children laughing together upstairs. I’ve always loved that sound when we’re all home for summer or winter break. But to still hear it now, after all these weeks of being “stuck” with each other in the same space? That’s even better than Christmas.