2020: The Masked Zinger

Well, well, well. So here we are, 2021. 

Almost every second of this past year included so many teachable moments. You could say it was a year where everyone was an exceptional parent. That’s the term used in the US to describe someone who ends up with a special needs child; the Exceptional Parent. These are the people who aren’t having the proms, the graduation parties, the slumber parties, track meets, plays or any other of the 10,000,000 things that people seem to enjoy about school every single year, not just during a pandemic. All year, I watched people righteously bemoan the loss of a typical year. I got to be honest, for me, it was glorious.

My hope against all hope was that maybe, just maybe, people could use this time at home to reflect on what is necessary to have a good and meaningful life. To spend time meditating on how truly fortunate it is to have their health. That this time we could see that truly unexpected and unfortunate turns of events can upend YOUR life, that control is only nominally possible and that adversity only makes us stronger. But, nah, for the most part, you’re all a bunch of fucking babies.

I know, I’m a meanie. And for as much as sometimes I so very badly wanted to rub it in the faces of everyone who mourned “senior cut day” or whatever rite of passage their child missed out on due to Covid, I remained stoic on the outside. I think I seriously deserve a cookie for this one.

I must admit, the first 12 weeks of 2020 were cool for me. I had friends visit, I took a few trips, got to a few shows including getting to see the amazing Son Little. transitioned to working from home with very little stress and although the general state of the US is in a state of flux and I very seriously wonder if we will even have a country next month, at least no one in my family got Covid so I call 2020 a win.

My autistic daughter dealt fairly well with the upending of our trips to the pool and to the mall. Like most autistic people, she needs routine and structure and many of her go-to spots were closed causing a lot of anxiety for me, her staff and especially her. She is so dependent on her routines that she is unable to attend any sort of day program because she can not manage the ever changing “community outings” that most day programs insist on. This year was understandably difficult. She had a few episodes of screaming in her apartment, a broken window, she pulled off one of her toenails (we think) manually and cut all of her hair off….but honestly it could have been much worse. I mean at least she didn’t miss her PROM (snark snark).

Because my daughter’s care requires her to have no less than 10 staff members a week, I have limited my time going anywhere but to see her. I did get my hair done once. I’ve Zoomed, and Face Timed and even called people on the phone, but honestly I don’t miss seeing people. When my daughter was young, I couldn’t leave the house much because she needed specialized care as she was non verbal and quite the eloper. I couldn’t take my kids to the park alone because I needed someone with my autistic daughter at all times. So I understand this new isolated life. This ain’t my first rodeo.

I don’t anticipate much changing in 2021. Take up a new hobby, do more gardening, read a book and please stay home.

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