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COVID pandemic makes for family opportunities

Posted on April 1, 2020 by Taber Times
AIR UP THERE: Nolan and Livy Rabusic grab some fresh air in isolation, bouncing on a trampoline in their back yard. TIMES PHOTO SUBMITTED BY REN RABUSIC

By Greg Price
Taber Times

They said Seinfeld was the show about nothing.

With how the Coronavirus has forced families to isolate themselves in their homes, some may fear COVID-19 is the pandemic about nothing in the levels of boredom that may ensue.

But while some may see it as a problem, mother Ren Rabusic sees it as an opportunity to appreciate her family of four on a whole other level.
Getting caught in the pandemic scare right when it was heightening in Las Vegas, Nev., Ren and her husband Brad saw first hand how quickly it escalated on a day-by-day basis.

“On the last day when we were flying out, it was the first day of the official shutdown of Vegas. It wasn’t as bad as the pictures you are seeing being posted now, but when we walked up to check out of our hotel in the morning, over half of the slot machines were turned off. When we were first there it was pretty busy and then on the weekend we were talking to people who were saying this is our last day with cleaners and valet people,” said Rabusic. “Everything was quickly shutting down with all the shops.”

With school also shut down shortly after they returned, the Rabusic family went into lockdown mode in quarantine/self-isolation.

“We decided at that point that we were going to quarantine our kids with us. We were going to pull the kids out of school for two weeks anyway because it would be counterproductive if you were going to send your kids to school while you are technically quarantined anyway. We were already gone for five days and so we weren’t going to try and make arrangements for our kids,” said Rabusic. “But then school got cancelled anyway.”

Past the 14-day quarantine mark as the story went to press for the Times, Ren added the experience has brought the family together in different ways than the regimented life of school and 9-to-5 jobs tends to churn out.

“I think it has been great. You can focus one way or another. For me, it has been super interesting to be able to feel your family dynamics and how everyone interacts with each other outside of having absolutely nothing to do outside,” said Rabusic.

Usually life is waking up and you are already on the ‘schedule’ the moment you wake up. You have to get yourself ready, you have to get the kids ready, pack lunches, get them to school, go to work, pick up the kids, grab them a snack and send them to whatever sport they are involved in. If not that, supper is on the table at 5-ish, or you have to go buy groceries, do clean up and then help the kids with their homework before bath time and bed time.

“You are constantly in this momentum of one event to the next. Now, from having absolutely no schedule, is that now I don’t feel like I’m bouncing around trying to get to the next tick of the clock. You are wide open to do whatever you want,” said Rabusic.

Ren admits her 10-year-old son Nolan was super excited about there being no school while seven-year-old Livy is going with the flow, accepting what is and has not been overly anxious yet with school cancelled.

“Nowhere in life have you been in a space where your life is so wide open with no next thing. It’s just what you are feeling like doing in the moment,” said Rabusic.

The Rabusic household still has its financial responsibilities, where Ren has been afforded the ability to work from home. While her husband Brad has adhered to a quarantine, he has the type of job that can’t be done at home.

“But there’s still more of a free flow. To see my whole family operating without the stress of constantly being pushed to get something done, to get to the next thing. To be in a super-relaxed mode where there’s nothing to do other than what you want to do,” said Rabusic. “You can take a nap, paint a picture. What I did was draw a picture. I hadn’t picked up a pencil in 20 years to do a sketch. It actually turned out pretty good, I was content with it even though it wasn’t the best.”

Rabusic feels no pressure to ‘be on’ to have her kids strictly regimented in their day with activities, where activities seem to free flow themselves. Rabusic is currently examining online teaching options, but not before there were impromptu dance video productions or wrestling matches.

“It’s an opportunity. Where have you had in your whole entire life, have your kids not been in school? When in your whole entire life have you taken two weeks vacation time just to hang out at home and do absolutely nothing? You usually have an agenda where you’re doing something, a point to why you are taking that time off,” said Rabusic. “I personally haven’t instituted one thing in what we have to do. Everybody picks what they want in their day. We are all making opportunities out of this chance where we will not all be at home again for a continuous amount of time to bond as a family unit with no pressure whatsoever.”

With the go-go-go lifestyle of North America, Rabusic argues not to be stressed to keep the schedules you used to have as the nation is on near lockdown to try and flatten the curve in the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Essentially, relax and do everything you never could as much a possible, when you didn’t have time,” said Rabusic. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, don’t ruin it by rescheduling your whole day again. We have our whole lives to cater to all the demands on our time that life puts on us, including education. Toss the clock out.”

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