Suzanne Gosselin: Amid coronavirus, for some families, quarantine is a golden opportunity

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When I was a young college student, I had to spend six weeks in the summer receiving medical treatment several states away from my home state of Washington.

My mom went with me and we stayed at a Super 8 Motel. I was very ill with an autoimmune condition and spent a lot of time in bed. But we had our rhythms. Getting burritos from the health food market next door. Utilizing the hotel pool for exercise. Watching the evening news. And tuning in to a brand-new reality show called “Survivor.”

We also had lots of conversations. We talked about life. We talked about our faith. We discussed fears and the future. Being away from the rest of the family, being in physical pain and staying in a humble motel certainly wasn’t an ideal scenario for a 20-year-old, and yet I look back on that time as a special memory with my mom.

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When those six weeks were over, I gradually began recovering from my illness. I moved to Colorado for my first job. I met and married my husband. I had four children.

Many families will never again have a chance like this one to strengthen and solidify their family unit.

My time with my parents has never been the same. That was one of a few magical seasons of relationship, and I’m extremely grateful for it.

Suzanne Gosselin's children out for a walk during quarantine in California. Courtesy of the author.

Suzanne Gosselin's children out for a walk during quarantine in California. Courtesy of the author.

Right now, many people are settling into multiple weeks of stay at home orders to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Families are hunkered down together, sharing every aspect of life. College kids have invaded their parents’ previously empty nests. Older siblings and younger ones are living merged lives they have never before experienced.

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These are strange times indeed, but also valuable ones. Families are eating meals together. Brothers and sisters are playmates. Families are taking walks and bike rides through their neighborhoods, and improvising church together from their living rooms.

While this level of togetherness comes with stress, it also comes with opportunity. Many families will never again have a chance like this one to strengthen and solidify their family unit. Much like those six memorable weeks I spent with my mom, the pressure cooker of quarantine will affect family relationships for years to come.

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A few days ago, I was having one of many recent heart-to-heart conversations with my five-year-old. As we talked about the many changes and disappointments we’ve endured through this quarantine season, she looked at me earnestly said, “We don’t worry, right, mom? Cause God is with us even if we get the coronavirus.”

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I got a lump in my throat hearing her preach the exact thing I have been trying to teach her since she was born. When the world feels out of control, we don’t have to worry. God is with us and there is a greater plan at work.

I hope one day my children look back on this time with fond memories. “Remember that time we took walks, and watched movies, and made homemade pizza, and played in the back yard, and did church together? That was pretty special.” And I’ll have to agree with them.

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