landscape photo of a dusky sunset over a lake
(Photo/Wikimedia-Maasaak CC BY-SA 4.0)

Will there ever be another family summer like this one?

Will our kids reflect back on their time in quarantine and think it was all terrible because they had to be in lockdown with their parents 24/7, or will they look back and think about the silver lining — that they got to spend quality time with their parents?

Will they be so sick of my hubby and me when this is all over that they’ll need a long break from us and won’t want to hang out with us for a while? Will they still be kind to me and give me compliments, like telling me my hair looks good even though I know it doesn’t? (It hasn’t been properly cut or colored in four months and they are essentially lying, but it’s a nice lie, so it’s OK.)

When life is back to normal, will our kids still help out around the house as much as they did when we were all sheltering in place? Will they keep their rooms tidy and pick up their dirty clothes from the floor, help make dinner, and clear and clean the dishes after? Will they have empty afternoons with nothing to do and be so bored that they’ll ask me if I need help with anything several times a day?

Will family conversations feel trivial once we are no longer talking about Covid?

When my heart feels heavy from reading and watching too much news, will our kids make me feel better like they’ve done almost daily since mid-March?

Will in-person school resume in September? When the kids do eventually return to school, will I lose my backgammon mojo and regress to being the worst player in the family again? Will they still want to play Bananagrams with us in the evenings?

Will I be as chill as I am now when I’m back to rushing around and my life once again revolves around our kids’ schedules? At home, in the evenings after dinner, will I leave my phone in another room and not care that it’s there, like I’ve been doing during lockdown?

Will I fully listen and be as attentive once we are back in the hustle and not half listen because I’m thinking of all the things I have to get done?

Will I have to start nagging the kids after pretty much letting everything in their lives slide for the past four months? Will my go-with-the-flow, shelter-in-place attitude disappear once our days are dictated by school, sports, dinner, homework, back-to-school nights, pre-college meetings, SATs, and doctor, dentist and orthodontist appointments?

Will the kids still be thrilled with whatever I cook for dinner once we can move around more freely, and a cheap slice of pizza can be had just three blocks from our home?

Will they want to binge-watch TV shows with me once they can see their friends and watch whatever they want with them? Will they linger at the dinner table and listen to my goofy childhood stories, or will they suddenly revert back to eye-rolling when I start telling these stories? Will dinner time become shorter? Will Shabbat truly feel like a respite like it has every Friday evening and Saturday since our family started hunkering down together and distractions have been minimal?

Will there ever be another summer like this one?

What will our lives look like when we are able to resume some normalcy again?

What will stay the same and what will change?

Will I remember to slow down? Will I remember how good it felt to walk without needing to get somewhere, talk with those that I love without thinking about the time or what I need to do next? Will I remember to play spontaneously just because it’s fun and feels good to laugh in the middle of my day? And will I remember that no matter how busy I get and no matter how much pressure I feel from the outside, the most important people are right in front of me?

Julie Levine

Julie Levine is a writer who lives in San Francisco.