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Life at Home: Corona Virus Series in Bakersfield CA

It was March 17th. The first day that I started my family’s stay at home journey. My husband was the only one really leaving the house for work. I would just leave to get groceries and an occasional starbucks run but nothing major. During this time of Covid 19 Stay at home rule, I started a little blog series of what life at home looked like for us and thoughts that came with that [you can see more of that HERE].

At the beginning of the pandemic, some really beautiful photographers started to go out and do some “porch side” portraits. This is where they would go to people’s homes, stay a far distance, wear masks and all that jazz and then take some beautiful portraits. A few friends/followers of mine would send me samples and share with me encouraging me to do these sessions and although I LOVED THE SESSIONS I had no real intention to do them.

Until….Camille.

Camille, is a beautiful local nurse who reached out to me in hopes of me doing a porch side shoot for her and her family. Her story and expression of what this shoot would mean to her captivated my heart so much and it wouldn’t leave me alone. Immediately I knew I had to do this for her.

The following week, all I could think about was this session. Was this season. All I could think about was what this time means to everyone and how special and important it would be to capture these moments. Yes, this session wouldn’t be anything too fancy, but the story of this moment, the story of the people in these photos would mean more than the most elaborate session. So I opened up my schedule and made room it.

I’m going to share a few photos, along with some words from each home. I’ll close with some thoughts about this entire process and some words of encouragment that were on my heart to share. I hope you enjoy this series…

Life at Home: Corona Virus Series in Bakersfield CA2

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I feel like I got robbed of what it should look like to be a first time mom. But I’m grateful. She was born during the pandemic, so I’m just grateful for her health. It’s been challenging-mostly because we don’t get to see the people we love and I can’t take my baby to visit others. Yet, I am loving the calmness of it all. We get to cuddle a lot, that’s something I’m taking away from all of this. The calmness. -Perla

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We took the most simplest things for granted…like a handshake or a hug. Not being able to easily walk into my sister’s house feel so strange when it was so normal to do so. I think right now the best thing we can do is be kind and loving, not just to those we know and love, but to others. Covid has really taught us the value of slowing down. It has also made us really reflect on what we think we “need.” It puts a lot of that into perspective. As bad as things have been, I think we are really going to appreciate this time when we look back on it. -Marcel and Irene

[With tears in her eyes] Not being able to see my children and my grandchildren has been so hard, not being able to hug them and kiss them.  We’re reminded not to take our loved ones for granted. So often we thing we have tomorrow, but tomorrow might not come. After all this is done I  definitely don’t want to be home anymore [she says while laughing].  I think keeping great santaizing and health habits is something we all can really take away from this time. -Sara

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The anxiety of it all has been the hardest thing, just making sure our family is safe.  It’s been so uncertain with everything changing daily.   Just thinking of our parents and those we love who are elderly is hard. Over the last year and a half we’ve already been having these type of lessons that just show us that family really is the most important thing.  The needs of our children has been something that has really changed us during this season. Our kids need more than just outings and vacations, they need our time and attention, and that’s what they’re getting a lot of these days. During covid, we’ve learned not to take anything for granted-even as simple as your freedom to go wherever you want and do whatever you want. -Tanya and Therese

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It’s been tough not leaving the house; we are used to keeping the kids entertained and we can’t do that right now. As a mom, I can feel a little bit of depression in the home and that’s not easy. I really have enjoyed that my kids are helping a lot more, they are getting more involved and putting effort into responsibilities, before it was just me. Covid has slowed us down, we were taking life way too fast.  We are appreciating our loved ones a lot more.  I’ve been bonding with my kids and my husband, it’s something I took for granted.  -Anna

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Being on my own, I relied on the social interactions to bring me a little bit of joy; not being able to go anywhere on my own time, has been tough.  I had a little bit of a break down one particular Sunday because I’m used to taking that day to see family, and for the first time, I couldn’t do that.  I’m really learning to enjoy all of the little things.  Simply sitting outside for 15 minutes in silence has been so great, I never did that.  Past quarantine, I definitely want to keep a morning routine, I was always on the go.  Waking up earlier, being relaxed and sitting outside before my day starts is something I want to keep doing. What can I say about my life in this season, hmmm, I’ve found my own interests and identity. I have figured out things I like and don’t like. I find ways not to feel lonely, being able to do these things helps me feel stronger. Years later, when I have a family, I will have already figured myself out. -Tori

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Financially, we haven’t been affected, but it is hard knowing that family and others have been. It’s been especially hard not seeing family and not getting together.  We’ve done our best to listen to regulations that they’ve asked of us, not just for ourselves but for others.  It would feel terrible to know that we are the cause of someone else catching the virus.  As things go back to normal, we are just realizing more and more that all you really need is your family.  This has really taught us a lesson about preparing. I’m thinking we will grab a few things when they’re available, not to horde or anything, but just to have the minimum in case something tragic happens again.  On the bright side of things, we’ve been doing more cooking, relaxing, and working which are things we struggled to find time for before everything happened.  We’ve been spending a lot of money lately, it’s become really easy to buy something online during these times [Chris says, and they both laugh].  I guess you can just say that we’ve invested in our home these days instead of going places and spending it while being out. -Chris + Precilla

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The change to daily life has been the most difficult to adapt to. We work together and obviously have a home life together- so it’s been a little difficult getting a daily schedule down. Everything is happening in one place and it makes it challenging to focus. We are really missing our family and friends as well. During these times, we’ve realized we actually need a lot less. We were used to our appointments and eating out, and little splurges that we can’t do right now. The positive thing has been that we’ve been able to narrow down our focus on our family. We are really embracing and learning to be more intentional in all that we do. We are feeling grateful for what we have, feeling grateful for the little things. -Austin and Anna

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Once everything started to unveil itself, it all felt very scary to us. It still does, but we’ve managed to make the most of it and we’ve learned to slow down. We’ve been really enjoying our time together without all the extra usual noise like work and the simple pressures of the world. We’ve been really finding joy in the little things and giving our life, home, and little family all the TLC it needs. Edgar + Chelo

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It’s been a very emotional time for me. I’ve been very emotional for my patients. It’s hard to see them with no family to comfort them. It’s tough to see fear in their eyes when they see us, these strangers with masks who have to limit our interaction with them. It really takes a toll on us when we see the severity of our patients knowing the inevitable. I have so much fear of bringing the virus home to my kids and my husband. I hate having thoughts that something could happen to me and then my kids wouldn’t have their mom. [She breaks down in tears, I’m doing my best to keep it together, although feeling every emotion with her]. [She braves through to say this] We are all just getting through it.  I’ve just really been appreciating the littlest things. We get caught up wanting more instead of embracing what we have. We’ve spent so much more quality family time off our gadgets and phones and have spent more time outdoors. If there’s something I could tell others, it would be to just respect one another’s opinions of this whole pandemic. This is all new and some people feel the urgency and severity of things, and others don’t. Staying safe and keeping good boundaries as things start to release is the best thing we could do. It’s this fine line of staying safe but enjoying life. I think we all just need to find the new normal in this very abnormal situation. -Camille [local nurse, who inspired me doing this entire series]

I left these sessions very emotional and also so inspired. My heart was inspired because I couldn’t have been more happy to have done this. To be in this moment with others during this time. Another moment in my career where I realize how photography is a gift, photography is a type of calling. It is a beautiful thing.

What I took away from all of this.

We are all in this…truly TOGETHER. We may all be experiencing very different versions of what Covid means and what it did to our lives in this season…yet, we are all experiencing the same things!

A joy for life slowing down.

Embracing the little and simple things in life.

Missing our family and friends.

There’s a mom who is frustrated too. A child with special needs at home and special parents doing their best. There’s a father out there who is scared about their family’s future. There’s a single person living their best quarantined life. There’s a household with kids who are bored and sad. There is a healthcare worker or an essential worker who fears getting their family ill. There’s a family juggling this new normal and it’s a bit overwhelming sometimes. There’s a new mom who feels all the strange emotions of everything feeling new and uncertain. There’s a grandma yearning to hold her grandkids and wondering when that will be. There is a family engulfing themselves in home projects. There is someone fighting mental battles of the what if’s. There are couples who are really stressed trying to figure out plans for their wedding and all the changes with it. There is a grad who worked so hard to earn acknowledgments and won’t be acknowledged in the way they anticipated. There is someone like you…you are not alone. There is an entrepreneur fearing that their business will not be tomorrow. We are seperated, we are all nervous in some way, we are all coping, but we are in one way or another….together.