There’s no place like home: From empty nest to broken nest to quarantine.

For a homebody like me, this forced social distancing from Coronavirus feels equal parts bizarre and comforting. My people are home with me.

For us, staying home means finally going home as our unplanned renovation thankfully winds down enough to move back in after six months—just in time for the “Stay at Home” orders from our county. We will have no kitchen for awhile so that will be interesting. This is surreal for everyone. For us, it’s like we’ve become avatars moving through the levels of a video game where each challenge gets harder and comes faster

We dropped off our second freshman child at college in August at New York University and flew home to a massive slab leak inundating our floors.

Every parent knows the stressful months leading up to a first-time college drop off. We have twins—so there were two universities, two dorms to outfit, two kids to prepare, two goodbyes to brave. It was a summer whirlwind of logistics, planning and worry and then right when we thought we could exhale, the level of this game got much harder.

The Money Pit’s problems cascaded. New plumbing. New floors. New windows. New framing. New electrical. New drywall. Heck, we might as well update the bathrooms and kitchen while we have it torn apart.

It might have once been rewarding to remodel so extensively. But I am tired. I am spent. I just wanted to adjust to our new reality of an empty nest The nest is empty alright. Nothing in it but traces of asbestos sludge and construction dust.

You know that part in every horror movie just before the killer shows up and the music crescendos into a single sustained high-pitched note? That note has been playing for six months.

And then the Covid-19 pandemic showed up. Damn.

Those same eager college freshmen we dropped off six months ago have been sent home, upset, confused and scared. They are under our roof even if our roof is temporary accomodations with ugly rented Cort furniture. We are unexpectedly together again. But we are safe. Unmoored but healthy.

I’m grateful for that.

In a few days we will once again sleep in our own beds in our own rooms. We could all use the familiar cocoon that is home right now. Nothing about this pandemic could have been imagined six months ago. We try to hold onto what we know. Home. Each other. Family. Comfort food. Familiar TV shows and movies.

I feel so badly for all those college kids away on their first year and for the high school seniors on their last year. All the precious lasts that will not happen. The last prom. The last baseball season. The last birthday party with childhood school friends. The last yearbook. The last time together as a group at graduation.

How tenuous it all is. How little we control as life tosses us around throwing hurdles and calamities our way. Our house comes undone. Our plans come undone. We are all so vulnerable. I can come undone. I can break.

I’m all out of grit. I tell myself we’re lucky. No one is sick. No one is hurt. I miss my mother and father. My Dad, a doctor, would be calm and logical. My mom would make food and tell stories. I am my children’s mom. They need me to be calm and logical and cook and tell stories. They need me to reassure them.

I need my home.

March 25, 2020