EXPOSED – Week 1, Corona Virus Quarentine, Essex Fells, NJ

The Corona Virus has struck. For weeks I remained unafraid… hopeful that the media hype was just that… hype.

I kept sane and positive hoping the wedding I was shooting would remain in tact and the shoot for mid April was moving forward with our models and locations and assistants. I visualized, I mediated, I prayed and I soaked in as much goodness as I could muster not allowing for the negativity to penetrate my brain.

Then in Essex Fells, the reality hit and New Jersey was suddenly part of the story with Corona Virus cases nearby and a close friend waiting for results. Everything came crashing down with a thud. Elementary school play canceled, children sad, and then…. school closed.

Week One has presented a whole lot of emotions. The silence was deafening at times and the volume was too. No matter how quiet it was in the house it always felt loud and overwhelming. I have realized more than ever that as humans we truly adapt as needed to our surroundings. We find routine in everything we can for sanity.. or at least I do. The first days were strange… a bit of a novelty, some joy in that too, confusion of course and a lot of adjusting. By the end of last week it felt as though we had gotten into a groove. School starts at 9, beds made, rooms clean, everyone dressed and fed. I tried to keep order Von Trap style making sure my kids didn’t think this was a picnic so they took it as seriously as needed in order to get the work done.  Snack and brain breaks…. lunch and recess. We were outside A TON and rode bikes and laughed. But… then came the down moments…. and the tears and all the fears and worry all rolled up into a dark cloud. Up and down…. that is what this has been for me. For us… one person will have a meltdown at a time which has been easier to deal with case by case. I expect it to be everyone soon…. at the same time… bickering because of fright and monotony. BORED to tears… nothing left to clean and yet still asking “am I cleaning and disinfecting enough? Do I have everything I need should we get sick? Will my family be ok?”

In order to battle this depression I have decided to pull out my camera. I have tried to capture what is happening in this house since our new normal is anything but that thanks to the complex Corona Virus. Trying to accept in a positive way. that this IS our new normal….
Taking photos has helped for the most part. I believe it is the kids that are getting me through this right now and I am sure I am not alone in feeling that way. They are filled with joy naturally and though I am sure this is scary for them too, they don’t have the adult worry or the heaviness of a mortgage and credit card bills on their shoulders. I am trying to focus on that…. the smiles and hugs and kisses they give. The joy in play and having more time. Real time… to sit and play and listen to what they have to say.
There are so many questions unanswered…  The uncertainty leaves an ache inside me that I cannot fix. Answers are all I want and all I do not have.
Here are some of the images I took. I am hoping to continue to snap away and share week by week.  I will make something of the documented moments I have frozen. It will help me remember the sibling bonds formed over having NO ONE else to play with…. thats one thing I have loved. There is still fighting… of course… but yesterday I saw Ava walk up to Lyla and kiss her on the cheek. I had to go to the bathroom and cry after that one…
So here I am.. raw and unprepared…. writing from the heart and sitting behind a lens for my sanity and sharing because…well..when this is over…. I never want to forget to appreciate all the small things that are so easy to take for granted. I will say yes to dinner with friends… and going to the movies…. taking my kids to the museum and to the theater. I won’t let a time go by without a trip to grandma’s house. I won’t let myself forget how beautiful freedom really is.
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