• autism,  COVID life,  cross-country,  high school

    The lift

    A few months ago, my cousin, my sister, and I were talking (through Marco Polo) about how much our lives had been disrupted by the pandemic. My cousin was supposed to move from her condo in Toronto to her place in Toronto in March, but COVID had put a hold on everything. The renovations on her new place hadn’t been finished yet, her current lease was up, and she was Air BnBing it in a totally new neighbourhood in Toronto. She was living out of a few boxes in a new condo for months, watching the pandemic unfold in Toronto. My sister’s husband was stuck in Bahrain (after leaving Saudi…

  • anxiety,  autism,  COVID life,  cross-country,  high school

    Just relax and shake out

    I don’t know why an ice cream truck pulled up right before the JV2 boys race started, but I can tell you that I didn’t appreciate Fur Elise belted out in ice cream truck tones at a frenetic tempo on repeat. I’m guessing the truck didn’t set J in the best state of mind either, although I’m not sure if he was processing the ice cream truck or background noise before the air horn started the race. I suspect he had been ruminating in his anxiety long before we pulled into Grand Forks for his meet. J started out of the gate at a decent pace, making sure to keep…

  • autism,  COVID life,  cross-country,  high school

    Faking it so everyone makes it

    When I woke up for my long run on Saturday, I checked the weather on my phone. It was 22 Celsius (yes, I have my phone set to Celsius because that’s the only way I can understand temperature–that’s 71 Fahrenheit for everyone else) and 90 percent humidity. NINETY. I was supposed to run 14 miles that morning at mostly marathon pace. I got to mile 7 at a decent pace, but the weather was so brutal that at mile 8 the workout changed suddenly from “marathon pace” to “just do what it takes to make it back home.” I ran to mile 13. Walked the last mile in my socks…

  • autism,  COVID life,  family,  high school,  milestones,  motherhood,  travel

    We have been preparing 17 years for this

    One thing I’ve learned about this COVID-19 world we live in is that every small decision–decisions that you would never think twice about–you end up mulling over and over in your brain until it becomes a simmering stew of anxiety. In the beginning a lot of those decisions revolved around groceries. Toilet paper is gone, what should we be stocking up on that might be disappear off the shelves for the next 3 months? How often should we be going to the grocery store? Should we go every other week instead of every week? When should we go to the grocery store? Is it more crowded in the morning, afternoon,…

  • anxiety,  autism,  COVID life,  medication,  mental health

    Sertraline

    Take the syringe, watch the calibration carefully as you pull the clear, bitter liquid out from the bottle. That bitterness is why you need lemonade. Orange juice works too. The acidity will offset the bitterness. Wipe the bottle clean before you place it back in the cupboard. Any medication that spills along the sides will be sticky. J is 5 when we start this regiment, hoping that the sertraline prescription will do enough to keep his anxiety and OCD-like symptoms manageable. We were nervous to start. Anti-anxiety medication for a five year old? But the anxiety is debelitating for him. We feel like we don’t have any other choice. “Don’t…

  • anxiety,  COVID life,  motherhood

    Did I go through hell for nothing?

    One week ago was Father’s Day. Instead of the immense sadness I thought I’d be feeling over the loss of my dad, I was angry. Like raging angry. I haven’t been this angry in a very long time. I’ve been slowly realizing that COVID and my dad’s passing have been and will be forever intertwined, and because we’re still experiencing the effects of the COVID pandemic, I feel like I am still stuck–no stalled–in the grieving process. I’m still waiting to be physically with my family, so we can cry and hold each other like we should have been able to do at my dad’s funeral. Instead, the closure of…

  • autism,  COVID life,  motherhood,  special education

    We are living a privileged autism experience

    After the events of George Floyd, I feel like our little life events this month have been trivial in the importance of the national dialogue about race and privilege in North America (and across the world) and so I feel like maybe this week’s post should focus on more important voices that need to be heard that haven’t been heard. What I would like to do with this post is recognize our privilege as a white autism experience and share some voices and experiences of people of colour, specifically people of colour with autism. It’s an area of inequality that I should be more aware of, and I’m embarrassed to…

  • anxiety,  autism,  COVID life,  high school,  mental health,  special education

    COVID Rules

    Monday morning, J and I sit in front of his school-issued laptop while we chat with his special ed teacher, para, and speech therapist in our little “small talk” session and suddenly J bursts into a complete meltdown. Not just meltdown–I’m pretty sure it’s a panic attack because there’s hyperventilation and big ugly-cry sobs. We try to keep him on camera to help talk him through it–to assure him that things will not just be fine, things will be great, but he can’t do it and he needs to leave the room. It’s a very big reaction to (what we thought) was a pretty benign question: When is quarantine over?…

  • COVID life,  exercise,  motherhood

    Normal right now

    In four days our Colorado quarantine will be over. We will finally be able to leave our house. Go get groceries. Take the dog for a walk. Go for a run–oh how I’m aching to run outside! I ran 9 miles on the treadmill Saturday. I’m aching to run outside. In four days life will be back to normal again. Ha! Normal. I feel so lost right now looking for “normal.” Normal is an absurd paradox. Normal right now means having virtual school be the grounding point in the day when you’re in Colorado because it’s the only thing that ties your kids to a routine because things are so…

  • COVID life,  family

    To grieve behind a mask

    My father passed away Friday, April 10 2020. My faith has always sustained me through the hard times in my life. And I know it will sustain me through this moment in my life. But death and grief are inseparable companions and a pandemic brings a kind of grief I have never before experienced. My mother and I are the only members of our family living in the United States. My sister and her family live Saudi Arabia and my extended family lives in Canada and no one can leave their homes because the international borders are closed. I buy a ticket to Denver the night I find out my…