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Full-time family and full-time work during the coronavirus has led to stress and unexpected joy

Rita Giordano, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Parenting News

"My wife does the majority of the heavy lifting. I always knew they had a lot of energy but ...," Padraic said, chuckling, "I hear them running (upstairs) all day long. Sometimes it sounds like they're coming through. I know it's not easy."

But it's kind of magical, too. Before the virus, Burke said he got to spend about two hours a night with Nora and Delaney during the workweek, maybe 15 minutes in the morning. Now he's there for breakfast, lunch, walks during the day, little visits. When the girls wake, now they call for Mommy and Daddy.

"Before," he said, "I was gone before they got up."

And he's getting to witness their personalities evolve.

Nora, as the baby, used to get teased by her older sister. "But all of a sudden, you can see that turning. She's getting a little braver. Her personality is coming in. It's changing."

Delaney is growing, too.


She comes downstairs to visit her dad a few times a day. Sometimes they'll play a little game. Or Delaney will give him a play-by-play of her morning -- yoga! cookies! baking! -- before turning in for her nap and then more of her day.

Burke said these weeks have taught him how much listening to them, playing Candy Land, generally just spending time together means to them. He doesn't intend to forget it.

"They're so young. They take it all in. They appreciate it," he said. "Going forward, as simple as the task may be, I'm going to make sure I take it in because it means a lot to them."

Before the coronavirus, Jade Brown, 34, and her two children went to Inquiry Charter School in West Philadelphia. Brown taught her class of 23 kindergartners, while daughter Logan reported to her second-grade class and son Xavier filed in with his fellow fourth graders.


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