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  • Caroline Harris

What I Didn't Realize I Was Missing

March 11, 2020 marks the date that the WHO announced COVID-19 a worldwide pandemic. I had just gotten back from a trip to Miami and then Charleston for spring break, and UNC sent out an email that the break would be extended another week. I was so excited for an extra week of spring break to hang out at home with my family before seeing all of my friends back at school. Little did I know, everything was about to drastically change.


One of the only constants in my life has been my family. Oldest of five, I have always felt a very close connection to all of my siblings and both of my parents. Throughout college, I would occasionally come home, but my breaks were usually spent at our beach house and wouldn’t last more than 4 days. Never in my life did I think I would spend months at home with my family. I had big plans to spend the summer after my junior year in New York City in preparation to move there once I graduated. As the pandemic progressed, those plans went out the door and I did something I never thought I’d do again: move back home.


At first, my time at home felt like a daze. I was still coming to grips with being separated from my college friends and getting used to zoom classes everyday. I was also adjusting to family life again. I had a stark realization a couple weeks into moving down to Wrightsville with my family. This is likely the last time I will live at home for an extended period of time. I needed to make the best of it.


My sister, Lindsay, and I are very close -- we both go to UNC, in the same sorority, and both on the dance team. While my bond with her has increased in college, I have felt my relationships weaken with my other three siblings. They had all grown so much -- physically and emotionally -- in the past 3 years while I was at college, and I didn’t realize just how much I missed until I moved back home.


You don’t realize how much you learn about someone by just spending time with them. Being at home and simply sitting with my siblings and parents gave me a renewed sense of their dreams, what really gets them going, what inspires them. I felt a level of connection with my family unlike any other time in my life.


I didn’t realize what I was missing out on in connection with my family until I was forced to take a step back from my busyness in college and reestablish a life at home. Though I never would have chosen this on my own, staying at home was exactly what my soul needed. I have a renewed sense of the importance of family first and even long for those days of beach time during the stay at home orders. A lot can change in a year.



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