• 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…

  • autism,  COVID life,  cross-country,  family,  high school,  milestones,  motherhood,  post high school

    18

    I’ve had little reminders in the last few months that we’ve been approaching a big milestone in J’s life. He has a little wispy moustache and patchy sideburns that need a shave oh-so-badly but at the same time still don’t quite warrant a strict daily shave routine. We get postcards in the mail from universities and colleges around the state of North Dakota addressed to J. We had J’s senior pictures taken a few weeks ago. We’ve also hired a lawyer to work on the paperwork for guardianship, rushed to get J’s non-driver’s license ID before he turns 18 (after 18, he has to show proof of residence with things…

  • 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,  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?…

  • autism,  COVID life,  high school,  home strategies,  IEP,  motherhood,  special education

    First Day of School Take 2

    Wednesday Fargo Public Schools started their first day of school thanks to COVID-19. It seems like everyone I know across the US and across the ocean (in Saudi Arabia) has already been participating in virtual school for at least a week or two already. In general, I feel like North Dakota has been a few weeks behind everyone on everything COVID related (probably because we fall 47 out of 50 in population size in the United States). And that’s okay. I (personally) need that extra time to mental prepare for all the changes that are happening, and I appreciate watching and learning from everyone else who has started the “new…

  • anxiety,  autism,  high school,  medication,  post high school,  post secondary autism

    Prognosis

    This week involved parent teacher conferences, a conference call with a guardianship lawyer, and driving to school to help J through an evacuation drill. I’ve thought a lot this week about how grateful I am for teachers who are flexible with their classrooms and curriculum to allow J to participate in the ways he can with his peers. I’ve thought about “the end of all public school things” and “adulthood” and what J’s future will look like and how much participation on our end will be needed as parents. I’ve thought a lot about J’s anxiety and how he just can’t seem to make it to the pre-determined time before…