The 'mental and emotional health of everyone' worries St. Pete's Sandra Döhnert and Scott Bourne the most

From Sandra’s ‘I Miss Us’ photo essay.

click to enlarge Scott Bourne (center) and Sandra Döhnert Bourne (R). - Sandra Döhnert Bourne
Sandra Döhnert Bourne
Scott Bourne (center) and Sandra Döhnert Bourne (R).

Like so many other kids whose birthdays fall on this new COVID-19 part of the calendar, Scott and Sandra Döhnert Bourne’s little one had her party canceled. But the St. Petersburg-based couple was honest with their child.

“We have had to explain what is going on, why we can’t go to the playground, preschool, shops, see friends and family in a way that she knows that we are all in this together,” Scott—husband of photographer and CL contributor Sandra, wrote. “Children are more understanding than many adults think.”

Editor’s note: This portrait is part of Sandra Döhnert Bourne’s “I Miss Us, St. Pete: A social distance photo essay from afar.” Get links the the full photo essay and more Q&As here.

Like the rest of us, the Bournes miss seeing friends and enjoying the vibrant epicenters of culture that our neighborhoods have become. They’re also exercising more, eating at the dinner table together and finishing home improvements projects. They’re also worried about the mental and emotional health of a world under quarantine.

But unlike most of us, Sandra went out to capture images of her neighbors during these extraordinary times.

How have the last five or six weeks changed you as a parent?

The quarantine has made us more mindful of the time we spend together with our child, of our activities together as a family and of how this will shape her future.

If your kids are school-aged and have to e-learn—how’s it going? Any tips or questions about being more effective homeschool parents?

Our child doesn’t not fall into this category yet but come next year she will be. We are definitely going through some preparedness for school.

How are you talking to your kids about the coronavirus?

We are being very honest. Our child had her fifth birthday party canceled because of business closures, so we have had to explain what is going on, why we can’t go to the playground, preschool, shops, see friends and family in a way that she knows that we are all in this together. Children are more understanding than many adults think.

What do you miss the most from the “before” time?

Seeing my family and friends. Going to art and music events in St. Pete, which up until Covid-19 were plentiful.

Did you pick up any new good habits or practices that you hope to carry into the post-coronavirus world we’re about to enter?

We have been exercising at home, making more home meals, talking about our dreams, completing home projects and just communicating better with each other.

Is there any silver lining to being quarantined?

Of course, we have had more time with our baby at home before she grows and goes out into the world. This has been very important because she is our only, and very strong-willed, child. Any additional time for guidance and the warmth of her nest is a blessing both for her and us.

What worries you the most about our lives going forward?

I worry about the general mental and emotional health of everyone, especially since this may go for much longer. 

Do you have a message for kids and parents in the greater Tampa Bay area?

To kids, bare with us as we try to figure out how to get through this. The future will be a different place but it will still be awesome. 

This will make us more aware of how we interact with each other and we will certainly appreciate the time we spend together when life starts getting busy and distracting. Bond with your family and create long lasting positive memories. Get creative, you may not have the opportunity to pause like this again.  Be a good neighbor, and support your local businesses.

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About The Authors

Sandra Dohnert

Sandrasonik's Photography and Digital Art Work is driven by outstanding proposals, projects, causes and people.Photographer, Singer, Songwriter, Graphic Designer, Web Designer, Documentary Film Maker, product creator designer & manufacturer and a really good cook - Sandra Dohnert - founder of (Sandrasonik Creative)...

Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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