anxiety,  autism,  COVID life,  motherhood

The world keeps changing every 2 hours

Just as I started to write this post, my phone rang with an automated Fargo Public School message regarding school breakfast and lunch for low income families: from Wednesday to Friday this week, students can walk up or drive up to designated school pick up locations for their meal.

Two hours ago, I checked my phone and the front headline said that the CDC now recommends we congregate in groups no larger than 10 people.

Three hours before that announcement, the Fargo Marathon was postponed. It will be held August 29 instead of May 9.

And today’s only Monday.

The world keeps changing drastically every 2 hours in the last few days and it feels absolutely surreal.

The big cancellations started happening Thursday. Our church’s religious services, meetings, and events have been suspended until further notice. Friday, Trump declared a national emergency and 20 minutes before school was let out my kids found out that all spring extra curricular activities have been suspended until further notice. Sunday the Governor of North Dakota announced school will be suspended until further notice. Sunday night, Steve finally got through with United Airlines and got our spring break flights to see my parents moved until later this summer.

It’s been really rocking J’s world. Heck, it’s been rocking all our worlds.

Yesterday, we sat down with J and decided we were going to really explain to him why everything was cancelled. We had done it a few times in sort of a rushed manner because we were trying to buffer the response of every jarring change and comfort to his routine and way of life (because autism). But right before the Governor’s address we told him about the coronavirus and why it is changing everything right now and it’s the reason why we’re staying in our house. If you’ve every seen J in an anxious state, you’ll know what I mean when I say that J’s eyes were lit up with anxiety. He turned to look out the window and asked if it was outside right now. We told him no, that people pass it around, and that you can only see it with a microscope.

That’s when he asked me to see a picture of it: immediately.

So I googled the picture we’ve all seen on our phones and computer screens for the last week. He stared at it for a long time, asked what it was called again (I can’t blame him, the only way I could remember it back in the beginning was because of Corona beer). He asked me what the spikes on it were called (I don’t know–if anyone does know, let me know. J would love to know).

Today he woke up again asking about it. He drew a picture of it (from memory). I think it gave him some power over it in a weird way.

This is going to take some time to process. Not just for J, but for me, Steve, and W. What does life look like with kids home from school for what most likely be for the rest of the summer? (according to the latest press briefing). How do you keep them learning? (especially when one needs one-on-one tutorials for everything) How do I get my work done at the same time? I know I’m not the only one asking these questions right now.

Last night I went to bed with full intention of getting up at 6 to work for a few hours before everyone got up. I slept in. Not because I couldn’t sleep (I can be the most stressed out person in the world, but I still can always pull off a solid good night’s sleep. I guess that’s one of my superpowers), but because I have a hard time getting up when no one else is. I kicked my self initially for this–you know, starting things off on the wrong foot–but then realized about 10 minutes later I have the next few months to figure this out. My schedule, the kids’ schedule. Everything.

After my run today, I stopped in front of my house and pulled in the garbage and recycling cans from the curb, and I was instantly grateful for garbage pickup. Our first spring in Fargo was the almost disastrous 2009 flood that was broadcast nationally. That was a very stressful few weeks. It was physically exhausting and emotionally exhausting. We couldn’t do laundry. There was no garbage pickup. The kids were in kindergarten and preschool. That was hard.

I thought of the good things I have right now. Today I ran outside. It was cold but sunny. I’ve seen the people in Italy and Spain, sequestered to their buildings, singing from their windows because they can’t go outside. I got to go outside today.

I have garbage pickup.

It’s going to be a long couple of weeks and months. For all of us. Let’s remember that. Let’s remember the people who are struggling: inside our houses and outside our houses.

Let’s remember the little things we have right now, instead of the things we don’t have right now.

Because the world keeps changing every 2 hours.

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  • Jessica Linder

    I am always amazed at how J processes the things around him. His determination and perseverance is absolutely admirable. I hope he is doing well, and finding ways to cope with the disruption to his routines. The coming weeks might be very difficult for us all, and I have him in my thoughts and hope he continues to be strong and well in this new world we are discovering.

    • sarahwbeck

      Thanks Jessica! We’re just taking it one day at a time, just like everyone else 🙂 Hope you are doing well and staying safe!