Corona-date: 184 = 6 months

It’s been 6 months since March 11 when social distanced life began.

Lots of things still don’t feel ‘normal’ even after 6 months.

It’s not normal for me to NOT hug people when I see them after awhile.

It’s not normal to only see a small circle of friends.

It’s not normal to NOT go to church or bible study.

It’s not normal for huge numbers of people to die.

It’s not normal for school to be virtual.

Darin

As I took this photo of Oomama & Bella, Darin did a cute pose that I missed…
So I asked him to do it again! Adorable!

The longer I have such a close relationship with Darin, the more blown away I am…

by the chance I would have missed the depth of who he is!

I truly believe that if I had not removed him from school in Fall 2018 and found his best life at home, I would have missed a lot of HIM.

Thank you, Lord, for bringing him home!

Now for the story that brings me here today:

I stayed overnight at the hospital this week. Darin & Joel dropped me at the ER midday Tuesday, and they picked me up after lunch Wednesday. Darin FaceTimed with me in the middle and seemed okay.

But when I crashed about 5pm Wednesday and decided to go to bed, he went to bed with me. I realized he must be emotionally drained too.

On Thursday I left early for my eye appt & Arabella’s birthday shopping, and so I didn’t see Darin before he went to Mamaw’s for the day. When it was time to came home, he called and asked me to pick him up. Joel was out and about and Mamaw’s was willing to bring him home, so I asked him to get a ride from either of them. He wasn’t happy but Mamaw was able to drive him home.

That evening, I left with Bella for her party at the Studio Movie Grill. When I went back inside for something, I noticed Darin was watching the car out the window. And when we left, he fell apart. Joel called me in the car on FaceTime, and I assured Darin we would be coming home after the party and he calmed down.

Today, he had earned an Echo Dot and Joel ordered it for curbside pickup. When he told Darin it was time to go get it, Darin insisted Joel go without him, that he needed to stay with me. We didn’t insist he go. He seemed reluctant to leave me. But then he got dressed and went along.

This evening went on with family party festivities, and after everyone left, Darin was jumping on the trampoline in the living room, listening to his headphones, while Joel, Arabella, and I watched television. All of the sudden, Darin stared wailing. It was so immense and sudden I thought he must have hurt something while jumping. When I crawled onto the trampoline, the wailing stayed very intense. I asked if he was hurt. I asked if he was sad. I asked if he was in pain. Each question got a slight shake of the head. After a minute, I asked if this because I was gone the other night. He nodded. I hugged him as he wailed a few more minutes. Then he sat back, said I’m okay, and relaxed.

His emotions come at such a different speed from the norm, but they are just as intense and deep as anyone else might experience.

I love getting to understand him more each day to appreciate the depth of who he is.

Corona-date: 156

On Monday (Corona-date 152), Joel was laid off.

Money aside, this week has been awful. Joel’s bummed, and our household is adjusting to another weekly routine change, (Remember the last few…) but this time without an end in sight.

I feel lost.

Corona-date: 135

It seems like a lot of intentional time worked and Darin had a great Thur/Fri.

We drove by to see our quarantined friend Mollie from a distance.

We took a ride with our Mamaw to pick up lunch.

We went to the park with Loki.

We played on the porch together.

Mamaw & mark invited him to dinner.

Like the rest of us, I think he just needs a little extra attention to break the monotony.

Corona-date: 134 – Regression & depresssion

About a week ago, Darin changed.

First he asked Bella to spend time with him.

On the 2nd day, she played with him, swam with him, and watched a movie in his room. And drove him crazy.

After that day, he said, “No more dates with Bella. Alone time.”

He seemed very disappointed.

Then he has started having only 2 modes: droopy or chaotic.

He doesn’t want to play on the back porch with me.

He does want to call me over and over and over on FaceTime.

He threw his own phone and headphones into the swimming trough… which he knows ruins electronics. (Fortunately, rice seems to have dried them out and prevented destruction.)

He is super focused on saying Joel is grouchy, even as Joel laughs with him. Last night, we watched a Coco movie concert and he was so happy to be with Joel.

He said 2 weird phrases out of context the other day. “I don’t have any friends” and “I’m not a bad person.” These are really elaborate thoughts for Darin. He blurted them out.

Yesterday, I realized this may be the regression we are all feeling in social distancing, just taking longer to drive his autism brain crazy.

It’s a bummer.

It’s pushing me back to a rough spot too.

Corona-date: 126 – slow life

As I’ve mentioned before, the gift of this strange time is spending time with my kids.

Often, I look back at the day, and think “I bet this is how a day is for lots of stay-at-home toddlers.”

It’s a gift of a do over.

When my kids were toddlers, I worked full-time as soon as they could go to the Rise school (at about 1 yr old). I squeezed as much work into 9a-2p, then I raced from therapy to therapy while taking phone calls for work. Upon getting home, it was all the working moms’ hussle of dinner, laundry, baths, rinse and repeat.

I wasn’t good at playing with them. I’m a busy body. Play is stillness.

But right now is different. I wake up with anxiety that only stillness can calm. And the best things I have found to feel peace are prayer and time with Darin.

Watching him is seeing answered prayers.

There were years he was sooooooo hard to care for. He didn’t know how to play. He didn’t know how to talk. He was chaos walking.

And now he’s my joy.

He helps me play and relax.

He folds back my table runner to eat.

He makes my day beautiful. He represents the hindsight of God’s work in my life.

Corona-date: 113

Most days, I think life feels “normal”…

Then something happens to show how emotionally on-edge I am.

Yesterday, the only summer plan that remained was cancelled. It was a super modified church camp for Holden with only the First Baptist student ministry doing all the camp parts themselves.

I’m glad they cancelled it. I agree with that.

But it also just ripped off the bandage of feeling “normal” again.

We have now been home longer than any normal summer break, and Darin and Arabella need a routine. I need to make this for them… that feels like a pressure I’m not emotionally strong enough for.

Corona-date: 96

Missio Dei Angelican Houston

Today my church shifted to hybrid church – in-person with the Zoom option.

Today I saw that a worker at my local H-E-B has COVID-19.

Social distancing fatigue is leading life to open up more… and yet, the virus is creeping closer to my local community.

It’s hard to hold the line and stay home when I miss people so much.

Corona-date: 90

It’s been 90 days since all the rules of life changed due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

It’s been a stressful blessing.

Stressful… to remember to put a mask, to not hug; to worry about unseen germs that a take a few weeks to appear…

Blessed… because it cleared out lots of stuff that didn’t add meaning to life, and increased time with our immediate family.

Corona-date: 74

Today was my first time to meet up with Tammi for breakfast since this all started… La Madeleine like before, but we ordered inside with masks on, and then sat outside.

It was great to feel closer to normal.

I’m hopeful that articles I’ve read about COVID-19 contagion that say the highest risk is in an enclosed space over an extended time, and the outdoors are the lowest risk. It makes sense to me, so I will keep trying to see people outside as much as possible (even though it’s getting so hot) and avoiding long stays indoors with other people.

Not normal. But it’s working for now.