Getting to Know You, Again


Leroy Rutherford, 72, watched his daughter, Chrissy Rutherford, start a brand consultancy out of her childhood bedroom in Bedford, N.Y., where she’s been staying since giving up her apartment in Manhattan last April. He may complain about the dirty dishes Ms. Rutherford leaves in the sink, but he admires her work ethic.

“She gets up from 8 in the morning and starts working. And 7 or 8 at night, she’s still on her phone or her computer,” Mr. Rutherford said. “That was nice seeing her start up something of her own.”

Ms. Schaffler, the mother in Indianapolis, concurred. “You always think they’re never going to be able to grow up and cope by themselves,” she said. “Well, he can and he has. Just listening to him on his work calls. Not eavesdropping but just listening. He’s sounding just like his dad now. I could appreciate and be quite proud of that.”

More than anything, there was time. Precious, unexpected time.

In the summer months, Mr. Vien, his wife and two children would stop working each day and have lunch together on the deck. He got to watch his son and daughter, four years apart and usually living on opposite coasts, develop a tighter relationship over their stay. His daughter had gone off to college in California at 17 and stayed there during breaks to do internships, and Mr. Vien and his wife had felt time with her had been “stolen.” The pandemic gave it back.

Shannon Holtzman, whose grown daughters, Carolyn and Larkin, both returned home to New Orleans for several months (Carolyn remains there), echoed the sentiment. “I regret the pandemic and wish it had never happened,” Ms. Holtzman said. “But for us, this has been a gift. We’ll likely never have this time again.”


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