Honey, Casey and Me: Reflecting on Sheltering in Place

“This is my letter to the world.” – Emily Dickinson

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My letter to the world might be a little different than Emily Dickinson’s. My inspiration comes from a book my Mom told me about, Marley and Me, a film that inspires me to reflect on the time I have shared with my family and dogs during the coronavirus shelter-in-place.

On typical mornings now, I wake up to the sound of my mom talking about the new baking website she found or at another time the sound of her listening to music from High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. It’s quite different from my old morning routine—hearing my alarm go off at 6 o’clock in the morning or sometimes 5:50. Now, instead of waking up, eating breakfast and heading off to Starbucks to order a grande skinny cinnamon dolce latte, I go downstairs to the K-cup machine. Instead of a paper cup, I drink from a glass mug, although I still continue to eat sausage, egg and cheddar breakfast sandwiches. However, today, I switched it up and had pancakes, something I would not normally have time for.

My new breakfast routine is just one of the changes I have experienced during the shelter-in-place order. I have enjoyed having the time to cook dinner with my mom—we prepared a delicious steak with potatoes and spinach. I have even learned to garden with my sister, and I helped plant the beautiful lilac trees outside of my house. My sister symmetrically puts the plant into the ground with me throwing bulbs into the ground like I’m playing a sport.

Spending time playing with my dogs, however, looks different from the adventures in Marley and Me. For starters, my dog—unlike Marley—didn’t eat half of my watchband. Instead, my golden retriever puppy, Honey, broke down the dog gate separating her from the third floor carpet. Honey then came into my room and took the scrunchie out of my hair, unbraiding the braid, which took me quite a bit of time to do. Not to worry: now the gate is being blocked by a bucket and a basket filled with winter coats. Honey also likes to take a sock and a winter coat, which she carries throughout the house. Then I go outside after having my breakfast to see my dogs outside together, and I then throw a sneaker chewed by Honey or Casey, our Chowsky. Or, I can go back a day or two to the memory of the hose spraying the fence and Honey leaping or pouncing into the air for the water—her golden fur wet, looking as though it’s crimped, compared to Casey’s fur glistening in the sunlight.

But through all of this happening, I realize how lucky I am to be here with my family—with my mom, my younger sister, Honey and Casey.