Hi friends. I’m still here.
The pandemic has me all out of sorts, which I’m sure isn’t unique to me, but it’s the reason this is my first blog post of 2020. Oops.
The kids have been out of school since March 12, 2020. Seattle Public Schools delayed moving instruction online for quite a while due to equity issues around technology access. The short story of quarantine homeschooling is that it’s been a lesson in adjusting (lowering?) expectations. I’ve mostly been letting the kids go feral, and I’m thankful for their teachers who are providing some self-directed assignments. I’m also very grateful for my tiger-dad husband who works with the kids on schoolwork a lot and even creates custom assignments for them.
Some of you may not know that in addition to photography, I work part-time in healthcare. I’m a clinical pharmacist in a primary care clinic at an academic medical center, which means I have appointments with patients who are referred to me by their primary care physician. I mostly do chronic disease management which means I help people with diabetes and high blood pressure reach their health goals by managing medications and lifestyle modification. Working in healthcare during a global pandemic (and the initial epicenter of the U.S. outbreak) has been stressful, to say the least. While I’m not a front-front-line worker caring directly for COVID-19 patients, all healthcare workers have been navigating a non-stop rapid-fire stream of information, practice and policy changes, and a general heightened sense of anxiety in the workplace. It’s been like trying to drink water from a fire hydrant.
We spent March preparing for “the surge” which we were told would be coming some time at the beginning of April. I exchanged a string of terrifying text messages from my friend who was working in the ICU one Sunday night.
Soon after there were two weeks in a row where I received emails from my clinic manager informing me that I had been exposed to a clinic coworker who tested positive for the virus so I should be vigilant in monitoring myself for symptoms. So all this time we’ve been continuing to show up to work with the knowledge that we could potentially contract the virus from a patient or coworker. I realize now that I had little time to process what we were experiencing.
So it may not sound surprising that most of my time away from work was spent managing my stress and trying to practice self-care. For me, that meant burning as many of the “should” memos in my life, hence my lowest of low expectations of myself as far as quarantine schooling. If Eric wants to go all tiger-dad on them, great. Not for me.
I also let go of expectations for myself as fas as being “productive” and “creating” during the pandemic. I picked up my camera if and only if I felt like it. Thankfully my last scheduled family session happened right before the “Stay at home” order, though I did have a large job in April that got canceled. It felt and still feels strange to share photos of the beautiful, happy families that I’ve photographed recently, with all the despair that’s going on in the world right now. I’ve not really been able to reconcile those painful realities with the need to continue to spread positivity.
Despite my limited bandwidth during pandemic times, I do recognize that there’s a sweetness to this time. I usually never have my school-aged children home during the day, and there have been lots of tender moments sprinkled in amongst the angst of quarantine. Here are a few of them.
So all this to say, I’m still here. I can’t wait to photograph your family again, as soon as it’s safe. Oh, and I almost forgot to share that Adobe featured me in a very sweet blog article that was published on Mother’s Day. I’m so thankful to work with such wonderful and supportive companies like Adobe, and having the opportunity to work with talented writers like Christine is just the icing on the cake. You can find the article here if you’d like to check it out.
Be well. xo Carrie