Quarantine came, and we were in a
groove, until our nanny moved.

Next came 8,000 lists, box-checking,
ordering all the things to send

a baby out into the world, at a time
when everything was dark…and then

we started gardening as a family.
We got our hands dirty and worked

outside. Now our six-year-old
wants to be a farmer. And our

four-year-old, a farmer’s helper.
We had been trying to keep everything

normal, but normal never had us
growing flowers and food together,

back when it was. Now, everything
is day-to-day…like it used to be,

and our children are growing gardens.

Notes from the interview that inspired this poem:

“I definitely don’t want the poem to be sad,” she said, “but it feels like everything has been sad lately.” This woman and her husband were both medical educators, and they had three daughters under the age of six. Keeping up with their work and parenting felt manageable under quarantine, until their long-time nanny moved. The transition to school and daycare had been challenging. They spent most of their time trying to keep things normal and fun for their kids at home, even though normal did not exist elsewhere. In an effort to find something they could do outside together, she began teaching the girls about gardening, like she’d learned from her father. The two older girls learned to love it. “Now my oldest wants to be a farmer when she grows up, and the four-year-old wants to be a farmer’s helper, instead of a doctor!” she said. “When they leave for different schools in the morning, they give each other huge hugs and say how much they will miss each other. Amidst all the darkness and stress, it’s been fun to see how they’ve grown so close to each other during this time.”

Interviewee: Anonymous, Educator
Listener Poet: Jenny Hegland

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