The Part of Quarantine that Few Talk About

By Paula Henriquez

HAVANA TIMES – Writing a piece and finishing doing it the first time, isn’t such a complicated job, but it is very difficult for me. As soon as I think I’m focused: “Mom, how do you like my drawing?” “Beautiful, as always,” I reply and try to rescue that last idea I had in mind, a good idea that my seven-year-old daughter has taken – without wanting to – with her drawing.

I return to the sentence, I think of something even better than the first idea, and then: “Mom, can I pour mango juice on my own?” “No, baby, the container is too heavy for you, you’re going to spill it.” I get up and pour her the drink. Upon returning to the chair, I don’t remember what I was writing.

The part of the quarantine that few people talk about is children’s anxiety about not being able to leave the home, which brings with it more confusion than usual, the constant need to be doing something, good or bad, and the desperate search for attention.

Every day it becomes more difficult to entertain them. When I talk to my friends on the phone, the question always arises: How do you manage to end the day without going crazy? And we always come to the same conclusion: it’s a great challenge.

There are no longer any storybooks to read. We know every last corner of the house and we have reviewed the most hidden of the drawers. The hallway has become a racetrack and there have been plenty of falls and bumps. The stuffed monkeys, teddy bears and dogs, which she never played with, now go from one side to the other and some even have their legs coming apart.

The part of the quarantine that few people talk about is how much patience is needed for the children. I don’t think I’d ever given it any thought. Now I realize.

Nor is there much talk of how much we will have learned from this world of parenting when we return to real life. It will certainly help us in the future, as we will no doubt have to face other difficult situations. Hopefully, it will never be like this again.

Paula Henriquez

Paula Henriquez: Since childhood I have been told I should be careful what I say in public. "Think before you speak, especially in front of others," my mother would say, and it was more of a plea than a scolding. Even today I hear her and I obey her, just that I do not speak, I write. Letters and words are my escape, my exit and daily catharsis, which printed on paper, revive me. And this picture is my refuge.

2 thoughts on “The Part of Quarantine that Few Talk About

  • What a wonderful description of a mother’s problems under pandemic conditions.

    Reply
  • Paula – you are a good writer and a good mama – bless you.

    Reply

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