Staying Home

I think I owe some of you an apology.

When our quarantines were starting around the country a few weeks ago, I heard so many complaints about staying home:

"This is awful, I can't wait to go out!"

"I am miserable at home."

"I can't wait until this is over, I can't stand being stuck at home."

I was 100% judging those people.  Like, "What's your deal?  If staying home is saving just one life, then stay home and quit complaining!"

Then I realized: those people (maybe you, even), they're new to this "social distancing" gig.

Us special needs parents - we have been social distancing for years.

For us, it started when my youngest son (now 6 years old), was about 6 months old.  Any time we went out - even to the grocery store - he screamed bloody murder. 

So we started taking turns going to the grocery store - one parent went shopping while the other stayed home with the kids.

He absolutely couldn't go into a restaurant.

So we only went through drive-thru's.

Then it was hard to go to church, because he wouldn't sit, and he wouldn't be quite.

We would sit on the floor in the back corner of the church - away from everyone else - so he had room to move around and so that we wouldn't bother anyone else. Then we stopped going to church at at all.

He didn't understand social rules - like waiting in line to go down the slide at the park.

So we got a slide at home.  No need to "go out" to play.

Our family has been perfecting "the social distance" for 6 years now, and this is our normal.....but I remember a time when it was so, so excruciatingly hard.

All I wanted to do was go out to eat with my friends - they could all take their kids out, but mine couldn' I didn't go.

All I wanted to do was take my kid out to the grocery store - but it was too much for I didn't go.

All I wanted to do was have some adult interaction during the day....but I was home with my two toddlers who couldn't talk, couldn't tell me what they wanted/needed.  We were living with autism years before it became official....and those were difficult years.

So if you're having a hard time with all of this quarantine/social distancing/staying home....I get it.  I used to be you too.  When this is your new normal, it takes some time to adjust.

In time, though, you'll find the good in being home:

-spending precious time with your kids that you just don't get in the busy hustle and bustle of every day life.

-a slower pace that allows you to enjoy the little things - like taking an evening walk with your family and just watching the blades of grass blow to and fro in the wind.

-alone time to truly reflect on what is important to you....I would almost bet that the most important thing to you is your family....and guess what? I think you'll find the other stuff just isn't as important as you once thought it was.

So when COVID-19 isn't as big of a threat, when quarantines are lifted and stores open back up - just remember - there are special needs families that will continue that social distancing indefinitely.  Quarantine and social distancing are often a part of their lives forever.  Remember that.  Remember them.  Check in on them.  Visit them.  Pray for them. 

Maybe, just maybe, this time of social distancing will help people understand just a small piece of the special needs world and the life many of us live all the time.


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