Family stays together, separate at same time


Ashley Cafero (bottom left), is now quarantined with her sisters. Photo by Cheyenne Shrieve

By Cheyenne Shrieve

Being cooped up in the house with barely any responsibilities sounded appealing after constantly running around.

But the quarantine that started out as a nice pause is lasting way longer than my family expected and we are all excited to return to our normal lives.

Luckily for my mom and stepfather, three of their four children and a grandson are now under their roof, with my older brother at his own house with his pregnant fiancée.

The secret to success in our full household: stay busy and, for the most part, stay separate.

We come together for breakfast and dinner. Besides a few movie nights together, we are trying to maintain alone time to feel like life is normal. I am behind closed doors in my bedroom working on finishing my spring semester of college at Miami University. Besides completing school work, I am also practicing new recipes and sewing.

My sister Ashley recently accepted a new position as a principal for a school where she lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.

This happened not long before the pandemic began, so she has been wrapped up in online meetings with her new school as she finishes this academic year with her old school.

Sadly, she will not be able to say her final goodbye to students in person.

“I loved teaching, but I am excited for the next chapter in my life. It is extremely upsetting not being able to celebrate my new position and say goodbye with my students in person, but I know they are happy for me,” Ashley said. “I have formed such a close bond with this school, students and staff [since] it was my first school I worked at.”

Ashley decided to leave North Carolina for our house in Steubenville, Ohio because she wanted to be with her family.

Now, when she is not handling her online school duties, she is a willing hair model for my other sister, Kristen. When she is not doing either of those, she is helping watch Kristen’s 1-year-old son, Wesson.

Kristen, my other older sister, was busy doing up-dos and haircuts at her hair salon in Steubenville before the COVID-19 pandemic put hair salons on hold. She decided to move in with us because she thought it would be nice to all be together

With Ashley out of her classroom and me home from Miami, where I am a sophomore studying strategic communications, Kristen practiced her craft on us. She tries to do a new look every day. She is very active on her beauty page on social media, constantly posting new makeup tutorials and hairstyle tips.

“I worked really hard to get as skilled at up-dos as I am, so I want to keep practicing and improving. Even during this time, I want to challenge myself with learning new techniques,” Kristen explained.

My mother and stepfather are overjoyed at having almost the entire family together. My mom, Monica, is keeping up with housework such as cleaning and cooking. My stepfather, B.J., is painting the house and helping my mom reorganize.

“Coming out of quarantine, it will feel like a fresh start,” my stepdad said. “The walls will be painted different colors and the house will be more organized.” 

My mom is keeping a positive outlook on the situation. 

“I think this quarantine is bringing families closer together,” she said. “Many people will find new hobbies to make this situation seem better, and people will discover what truly matters to them.”

Cheyenne Shrieve is a junior at Miami, majoring in strategic communication and fashion.