written by Abby Khou
To say this year has been challenging is an understatement. For most of us, it’s been a wild roller coaster of one setback after another. In March, the pandemic happened. We all thought it would last only a few months, if not a few weeks. Yet here we are. There was the political turmoil, the natural disasters, I’m sure it’s still pretty fresh in our memories. I found myself fasting from the news by the time summer came. And then there was the endless zoom calls. Already exhausted special needs mothers like us felt even more that we needed to attend to our children’s needs more closely. Our children had a hard time coping and so did we. Access to services was challenging and mothers had to make the tough decision to do in-person services or telehealth. Some children thrived in the solace of being at home, but for some children, behaviors intensified. Yes, it was a rough year. Special needs parenting added another dimension to it. Yet, here we are.
In a few days, 2020 will be ending. Many will heave a sigh of relief. But for many others, there are still many uncertainties for 2021. We cross our fingers and hope that things will be better. We pray that 2021 is the year that we can finally put COVID-19 behind us and start living again. Go to the movies again. Eat nachos while watching a baseball game. Have our kids go back to school. Go out without the fear that we might be compromising our health. Feel safe again in our environment, that it will not make us or our loved ones sick. Travel again to see loved ones. For some, we just want any small sense of our old normal to be back. We have learned to live in the new normal, but part of us still longs for what we had.
As I look at the many Facebook and Instagram posts of families celebrating Christmas with smiles that were born out of emerging from a year of hardship, I realize there are still many reasons to celebrate this holiday season. Our Christmas gatherings are smaller, but they are more meaningful. In our neighborhood, more houses are lit up with decorations, sending a silent message of hope to those who walk the streets. The warmth of our homes gives refuge from the cold winter. Zoom calls with family members who are miles away give joy. Quarantine has taught us to slow down and think about the things that really matter.
One good thing that we can take out of this is that we have emerged stronger than before. We are thankful for the things that we can do and that we do have. We made it! And we will make it through 2021.
I hope that everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!