Contributed by Monique Nelson, Director of Community Engagement
Mother’s Day is a wonderful opportunity to show your appreciation for the person who loves you unconditionally. Our family traditions include calling both Grandmas while sipping endless cups of Melitta coffee, placing an arrangement of fresh flowers on the table, enjoying a delicious home-made brunch, and taking an extra-long walk in the woods, which always seems to end up by the sea. On this one day of the year, there is usually even a little time left over for an afternoon nap, or reading a good chunk of Louise Penny’s latest novel. Check out our list of safe activity ideas for these times, below. I hope that you and your family enjoy them!
This year, I find that I need more than my family’s appreciation and a little bit of self-care. I wonder, do you feel that way too?
I have been missing my peace of mind—a startling revelation that caught me off guard, as someone who loves solitude. I choose to run the opposite direction of crowds, to surround myself in nature whenever possible. I love having my kids within arm’s reach for hugs and my little dog curled up next to me while I work. When public health officials asked us to work from home, I thought, “I am built for this, no problem. This new reality is manageable, and soon things will be back to normal.”
Not so, we’ve found. Weeks have turned into months, with some anticipated changes lasting for years. The new reality cannot ever look exactly like the old world that we left behind. With this uncertainty, and adaptation to change, also comes grief. For me, the weepiness comes in waves, although nothing in particular is wrong…
This health crisis has rocked my world and laid bare our family’s need for support and vulnerability. We rely on both professional and personal supports to manage as a unit. Community inclusion support services, friends, and volunteers in our faith community wrap around our son, providing him with meaningful daily experiences and connections. School teachers, guidance counselors, peers and work mates are key to supporting our soon-to-be-graduating daughter. We are fortunate that extended family, friends, and colleagues in the community living movement are just a phone call away and have been checking in on us regularly.
Until recently, our family plans after our daughter’s graduation included international travel and the kids embracing their independence—moving out of our home, in with their friends, and ahead in their career paths. Milestones and subsequent plans have been shifted, edited and postponed.
Thankfully, our kids seem to be holding up well, and are taking these changes and disappointments in stride. They are brave, strong and much loved. They are also developing the resilience that my husband and I, and our parents before us, had to cultivate during the challenging times of our youth.
Together, all four of us are adapting to working differently and using more technology to enhance our communications and connections. We are also beginning to dream differently, about what our futures hold.
This Mother’s Day, my wish for our kids to be happy, healthy and loved remains unchanged. To get back to that place of inner peace, I remain hopeful that we can activate our power as a movement to change the circumstances we find ourselves in. Over the coming year, I will be working hard to see that we all come out of isolation together—citizens with and without disabilities. As society re-opens, let’s be ready to engage more deeply than we have before, in our family groups and the circles that surround us.
If we truly believe that we are better together, then all I really need now, is you. Be part of my interdependent web, and help bring about an end to the isolation that our relatives with disabilities have lived for far too long.
Join me this weekend, as I listen to a benefit concert for PLAN; read a book about the Power of Disability; set more realistic expectations for myself, and suspend reality. I will be unplugging for a while to read a juicy mystery novel.
I also recognize the privilege that I hold, and that this pandemic has different and unique impacts on each of our readers. I know that practically speaking, if you made it through this article, your time for pause could be over, and you may need a hand to come out of isolation. Contact me anytime, or connect with a organizations like PLAN or the Family Support Institute of BC. We are not only better together, we are stronger, together too.
The Power of Disability reminds us of what we have in common – the power to create a good life for ourselves and for others no matter what the world has in store for us.
– Michael J. Fox
Resources mentioned in this post:
Learn more about PLAN’s support networks, and join a conversation
Learn about the Family Support Institute, and join a conversation