Thursday, February 4, 2021

The Pep Talk I Need Right Now

We are almost a year away from when the pandemic began, for us anyway. 

My daughter turned seven on March 11, 2020, and we had a party outside in the park with snacks and hand sanitizer. Two days later, on March 13, the kids left school and were told not to come back. 


We are still waiting to go back. 


I will follow these rules of keeping distance, wearing a mask, only meeting with people out of doors. I will continue to follow these rules if it means that others are safe. 


But what of our children? Are they thriving or are they withering? 


My children had a wonderful summer. Plenty of time outdoors, working in the garden, hiking, swimming in the river, sleeping in tents—we were incredibly blessed. We even took a cross-country COVID-safe road trip to see grandparents, a much-needed respite from the reality of the new normal.


We’ve made it through the winter and spring is on the horizon. Patience is wearing thin, hope is shivering on the floor, and my kids must feel so alone. 


I need them to be back with their peers. I need them to be in the presence of life outside of this home, our family. I need them to see they are a part of something bigger than what is happening in this house. I need them to remember they have friends and people they can laugh with, share stories and smiles, people they can relate to. 


There is a battle raging inside of me. I want to keep my community safe, but what is community if we can’t get past our own fences? Each of us a tiny little universe struggling behind closed doors and masked faces. 


My humanity is screaming to be let out, and my heart breaks for my children every day they spend without their friends. 


How are you all holding up? This is not an easy time for anyone, especially parents of children who have unique and diverse needs. I had to take Freya to the doctor for a now persistent stomach pain. I was terrified it would be something they would send her into the hospital for and had to question if they would let me be there with her. I was terrified. I don’t know hospital protocols these days. 


I know that far too many of you do. 


Our children are probably thriving in some ways; more attention from parents by being at home, not having to transition to schedules and places outside the house. And some ways, they are withering; lack of social interactions and services, exhausted parents who are overwhelmed themselves, little stimulation or change in their environment. 


The list could go on. 


We are all living this. The majority of us are struggling. We are not alone. 


In a meeting for my daughter’s class the other day, the parents all took a moment to check-in. Most of the parents said, “I think my kid is doing okay, but I’m not.” There were tears and commiseration to go around. 


If you are feeling overwhelmed, depressed, anxious, unsure, fearful, incapable, unmotivated, sad, like a failure, etc. You are not alone. 


Life throws us many obstacles along our journeys, and this pandemic is a big one. But we are all experiencing this, we are all struggling to get through this, and, with help from each other, our community, and our friends, we will get through this. 


Hang in there! Better days are ahead. I have to believe this. 

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