Who better than a parent of an autistic individual would have been prepared for what has befallen the world in 2020?
I know how you feel. I know the panic. I know the overwhelm. I know the need for over preparation.
I know that we need extra planning. We need to overthink. To foresee each step ahead. To structure the day. To expect that all will go according to plan, and to pivot in a split second because it does not. And in the face of the turmoil to keep a straight face, a loving demeanor, an understanding of the other’s fears and anxieties.
I have been there.
I trained in full confinement since the day my first-born was diagnosed with “moderate” autism, back in 1998. I had to adapt to a new “not-normal” and to live through social distancing not by choice to preserve our health or our loved ones’ health or the world’s health but because that is the nature of the beast when you are thrown into a world that places you in the “different” category.
Today, everyone is in the pit.
It is amazing to see.
It feels so surreal to many of you, and to many others, it feels scary like hell with thoughts of doom racing through your head and probably paralyzing ideas that you can’t survive such drastic isolation from others while you are quarantined in your own home with your loved ones or maybe even with your mother-in-law, who knows.
It is not doom.
It is not doomsday. It is a pandemic. It is new to most of us because this might be the first time we have to shelter in place with the resources at hand.
These resources were already prepared before we even knew it.
If you are reading these words that I post online, it is because the internet connects all of us. Even when we are separated by oceans, mountains and by time differences.
Technology has brought us immediate access to those we trust for wisdom, knowledge, information, inspiration. Solidarity springs like the birds who are ready to welcome the new season. Everyone is ready to offer a virtual hand through their shares.
This might be an extraordinary time in our lives and it will change our world for the better if we choose to react with our best selves.
When I started my first blog – in French – I chose to name it “One Day @ A Time” for a good reason: I was living a situation that was so overwhelming that I could only take one day at a time, each day I was “surviving” felt like the best accomplishment I could account for. I was proud of small steps, I was celebrating menial feats, I was immensely grateful every minute of every day because each of them was a treasure, one that kept giving, I had never imagined I was that strong and determined, I had never envisioned I could take in what I was taking in.
And yet I did.
Because I had a community, actually many communities, too many to even list them here without losing track. They know who they are. They are still in my life and smiling at these words. They know how grateful I am to them. They know the love we have shared at each step that we walked together, holding hands on the long and difficult path.
Today, you can have what I had then.
Communities are all there. You are part of them. Knowledge and wisdom are flowing in ways that we would have not imagined twenty years ago.
Our children are so much smarter than we were, their creative minds are bursting with ideas and joy, do not forget to celebrate them for how they will teach you news ways. They have not known the limitations we impose on our feelings of doom because their doom is at the end of the hour if their promised moment of delight is removed from them, not next year. They take one day at a time because this is all they have and they are so good at making the best of each hour.
Pay attention to what they say. How they say it. Their emotions. How quickly they recover. How resilient they are.
Even if you feel that confinement is a catastrophe, remember that it is just a moment in your life. One moment.
There are no “but”, there are “and”… and this moment shall pass as well.
I wish you all to be able to share each moment with joy and love, the same I have always wanted to do and known that it has taken me to this day, with faith and hope that all is good because honestly, it is.