• autism,  COVID life,  high school,  track

    The Comfort of Normal

    This Thursday was J’s first track meet of the year. It was blustery and cold. And absolutely wonderful. It was the closest I’ve felt to “normal” since March 2020. Even more “normal” than the XC meets of 2020. J rode the bus to the meet. Hung out at camp, ran his 1600, ordered from the concession stand. I know we’re not normal yet. We’re nowhere close to normal. We’ve got vaccines and we’re getting close, but it also feels like we’re on the cusp of the fourth wave. I know that at any moment things can change again. I know there’s still a risk someone in our family could come…

  • anxiety,  autism,  COVID life

    It takes a village to get a vaccine

    Vaccines have always been a tricky thing with J. No, not in the “do vaccines cause autism way” (just to clarify for the umpteen millionth time VACCINES DO NOT CAUSE AUTISM. THEY DON’T. PERIOD.), J has a lot of anxiety over needles. There was a stretch in his vaccine schedule where J was able to master his mindfulness techniques and aced those vaccines with a few deep breaths, but this last October J wasn’t able to channel those skills well enough to be successful. J and I sat in a cramped room in the clinic with our masks on for a full hour, practicing those breathing skills, taking short walking…

  • anxiety,  autism,  COVID life,  family,  high school,  motherhood

    The world has to stop spinning first

    Sometimes I get a glimpse into what I think it might be like to experience the world like J. Not often, but sometimes. About a week and a half ago I had one of those times. I was on the couch with Steve sitting with a 386-page draft of my novel in my lap, discussing with Steve some of the problems I was having with it. I had 4 chapters that needed substantial revision near the tail end of the novel and I had spent the entire day untangling them, trying to figure out where to start again. 386 pages is a lot of story to be managing in your…

  • autism,  special education

    What Happened Wednesday

    Last Monday I wrote about moving slowly into the New Year and how, so far, it had been gentle. Two days later–six days into the New Year–well, that all changed. Wednesday afternoon, there were a lot of words flying around. On my screen, on the radio as I was driving the kids home from school. A lot of government words, a lot of politician’s names, a lot of procedures, all coming out as rapid fire descriptions and questions. Words with a lot of emotion behind them. For those of you who have never sat in the car with J, watched a movie with him, or tried to have any sort…

  • COVID life,  family,  motherhood

    “So we beat on, boats against the current..”

    The day after the new year began we drove out to Buffalo River State Park, MN to go for a trail run as a family. Hoar frost had settled on the frozen blades of grass and naked tree branches. It was a breath-taking morning for a brand new year. A truly spectacular day. So far, the new year has been gentle. I feel like I’m reaching into it slowly, cautiously–just in case it bites my hand like 2020 did. After all, we were only eight days into last year’s new year when Iran and the US were flirting with the idea of WW3. I’m careful with this new introduction. I’ve…

  • autism,  COVID life,  teen years

    Life Skills

    We’ve been out of a washing machine since November 19. To say that a broken washing machine is an inconvenience for 12 days is a slight understatement. Remember, this is 2020, and we’re still living in a pandemic. I don’t know about the rest of you out there, but the Beck household goes through about 3-4 loads of laundry a day. We are an active family. Everyone in our house runs, which means we go through a lot of workout clothes. Because of all of those workouts, we also shower a lot, so there’s also quite a few towel loads to go through. J also has tactile sensory issues, which…

  • autism,  COVID life,  motherhood

    Why I’m thankful for autism (repost)

    I’ve had some thoughts about the last few weeks that I’ll hopefully for next time. But in light of American Thanksgiving and how it will look so different for all of us this year, I thought I’d flip back to three years ago about when I wrote about being thankful for autism. I thought it was an especially good reminder for this year, since for many of us this year has been really rough and it’s hard to feel gratitude when life is rough. I saw someone post on social media a few days ago about grief and gratitude being sister emotions, and I feel really strongly about that. I…

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

    XC Recognition 2020

    It’s tradition that after every XC season coaches, athletes, and parents come together to celebrate and recognize the accomplishments of the athletes who have worked so hard all season long. Of course, because this year is what it is, the recognition program didn’t quite happen the way it has in the past. Because COVID numbers are so high (number one in the United States!) Fargo Public School guidelines limited the awards program this season to just athletes. When Steve and I got the news, we figured that something like that would be the case. We were happy and grateful that J would still be able to have a recognition program,…

  • autism,  COVID life,  high school,  motherhood

    Always Let Steve Take Care of AP Bio

    How can 2 weeks feel like 2 months? I think it’s the emotions. The decision fatigue. Back and forth schedules. Restricted socialization. The feeling of being mostly homebound. Maybe it’s all the things that have been happening in our house lately? I turned 40 two weeks ago. We got our family pictures taken last Saturday. I had minor surgery on my foot on Wednesday. We survived our second week of virtual school (with both kids attending a handful of classes on campus for choir, orchestra, weights, bio labs, and special ed classes those two weeks) and then hopped back into hybrid for a hot minute (before the teacher development days…

  • autism,  COVID life,  cross-country,  high school,  middle school,  teen years

    J won XC

    J ran his last XC race of his life on Friday, and I’m feeling all the feelings. I started this blog a few months before J started his XC career. It’s not a blog about J and XC, but running has become an enormous part of J’s life since he started XC back in 2015, and so there’s a lot of XC in this blog. Over the last hour or so, I’ve been scrolling through all of the XC posts, getting teary-eyed while at the the same time astounded at what has happened in the last six years. I feel like this brief summary doesn’t come even close to the…