Moving From COVID Chaos to Mindful Delight While Parenting Kids With Disabilities
In the last two years, we found out that our younger son Alex had a stroke, and our older son Benji has autism. We have learned to juggle working, raising children with disabilities, and countless appointments, treatments, school meetings, and home therapies. My husband Lewis and I were stressed out. We were angry, had trouble coping, and were completely burnt out. I’m sure you have felt that way too.
Then COVID-19 turned our lives upside down. Before COVID, we typically had four adults in the house at any given time to care for two kids. Now it was just me and Lewis 24/7. We felt like we were losing our minds. At some point during the second month of quarantine, it hit me that I was being given a second chance at maternity leave. I could spend long stretches of quality time with my children — something I hadn’t had since Benji was a baby. That leave was broken up with appointments. Now there were no obligations, but how could I enjoy it when all I saw was screaming and fighting, hitting, hair pulling, glasses breaking, headbanging, and toys being thrown?
The answer was mindfulness. By moving from COVID chaos to mindful delight, I could improve and enjoy even those moments and make the most of the time I had with my children before the pandemonium of real life started again. We started walking around the neighborhood with the kids. Those times were, and still are, full of whining and screaming and kids dragging their feet. Even so, I loved every second — feeling the air blow against my skin, seeing the blossoms of spring and summer flowers, being curious about why and how they grew the way they did, rediscovering the joy of blowing dandelion fuzz, delighting in the search for the motorcycles and pickup trucks my kids adore, grabbing the youngest and chasing the garbage truck through the neighborhood so he could see it eat the trash, watching our toddler learn to walk and run and frolic through the grass and rocks.
Moving from COVID chaos to mindful delight with my kids means watching the gears turn in their mind as they try to solve a problem, cherishing their humor, listening to the funny ways Benji scripts the things he’s heard, gazing into their shiny sparkling eyes, holding their soft hands and kissing their silky chubby cheeks. It means analyzing their growth over these quarantine months, seeing how they are stretching out and growing into kids, not babies or toddlers. It means listening to them figure out how to use new words in conversation, watching them do new fine and gross motor activities, seeing my youngest run for a second before taking off just like the Road Runner, observing them learn to use their utensils and try new foods, and witnessing how Alex looks at Benji with love and tries to do everything Benji does.
Moving from COVID chaos to mindful delight around our kiddos makes good moments better and bad moments shorter. It can make you appreciate the time you have with your kids, even if it isn’t as much time as you desire. We are at our best when we are present and mindful. Life is when we are present and mindful, even in the upside-down days of 2020.
This story originally appeared on DifferentDream.com.
Getty image by Piksel.