Bethany Van Delft

PROGRESS ISmoving forward

Comedian, writer, performer, and PRO-Keds wearer since childhood, Bethany Van Delft shares her new normal while under quarantine with her family.

Photographed in Boston by Karin Dailey

Bethany Van Delft standing outside a house

Humor was the way my family processed and coped with everything growing up, which was sometimes frustrating, but sure has come in handy in these unprecedented times. As a comedian, working from home looks very different for me. We don’t have a dedicated space for work, scratch that, we don’t have space for work! My husband locks himself in our small bedroom from 9am-4pm while I homeschool/feed/entertain the kids, then he takes them out to the backyard and I lock myself in the bedroom to write, respond to emails, book work, doomscroll.

The kids yell at me “Mama stop looking at your phone!” which makes me sad because I was committed to not being that parent, now I am. So I try to narrate what I'm doing on the phone like “I’m letting this comedy club know I can't work in person until there is a vaccine but will Zoom til the cows come home!” When I have shows in the evenings I have as much dinner with the kids as I can, then either they go upstairs and I build my DIY studio at the dining room table, or I lock myself in the bedroom again. In the "before times" leaving the house created balance, now it's “I’m locking myself in the bedroom!” That’s the balance.

“One silver lining has been seeing the relationship evolving between our kids. Learning how to work things out, give each other space in close quarters, communicate their sadness, frustration, joy with each other, the way they look for each other as soon as they wake up and at bedtime. It's really something.”

To maintain some semblance of normalcy, we wake up early Mon-Fri like we have somewhere to be, sticking to routines. Distance learning for my oldest while keeping my youngest at arm's length. Trying to build learning into everything we do so we can spend less time in front of Zoom calls. Adopting “Taco Tuesday,” “Pizza Friday,” “Pasta Sunday,” so I can think less about what to cook each day. Waiting for the chilliest, cloudiest days to go to the beach in hopes there will be no naked-faced people. Reminding ourselves this will pass, it's not forever, even though it feels like it. Talking about gratitude, being grateful we and our close family and friends are healthy, safe, and well. Learning how to communicate better with each other. Figuring out what we can be working on while we are in lockdown that will positively impact our lives when this has passed.

It's been very challenging for us as our city and the country reopens. My daughter is high-risk, so we are still being extra cautious. At first when it was still cold out and everyone was staying home and “We’re in this together” was the buzz, it was easier to explain to the kids how we all need to do our part to stay safe, keep others safe and let the virus run its course.

Now the kids see everyone out, enjoying summer, no masks, being close together in large groups. They are trying to understand but they are quite sad. We’re trying to make the backyard the best place to be but they say “It can't be fun every day back here. When will everyone stop being so selfish and let the coronavirus pass??” I wish I knew the answer to that as well, it’s heartbreaking.

One silver lining has been seeing the relationship evolving between our kids. They've always loved each other but the friendship that is growing from their being together 24/7 is beautiful to watch. Learning how to work things out, give each other space in close quarters, communicate their sadness, frustration, joy with each other, the way they look for each other as soon as they wake up and at bedtime. It's really something.

PHOTOGRAPHER SPOTLIGHT

Karin Dailey, @karindailey Boston

Progress is always possible.

“Every time I pick up the camera, I make a new connection with someone and improve on lighting, composition or concept. Each photo assignment hones my skill set. I don't think your progress as an artist or professional should ever halt. It's an ongoing, ever-changing process.”

Karin Dailey

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