Basketball, Sidewalk Chalk and COVID-19
Updated: Apr 20, 2020
One afternoon in March, on Friday the 13th of all days, I was told that we will be discontinuing doing face-to-face visits with our families. I was at a family’s home when I got the call, so I had to leave. Little did I know then that over a month later, I still wouldn’t be able to see my families in person and we would be asked to shelter in place until the end of April. I wonder if it will be extended into May as more people are getting sick. While on the one hand, I hope not, on the other, if that is what it takes to save lives, I am all for it.
One of the reasons I wanted to work for ASK as a Family Support Partner was to help families feel empowered, hopeful, and supported through their journeys as I did during mine. We are still able to do that during this time of social distancing but in different ways. Some families I talk to on the phone and some I use video conferencing to communicate with them. Those are my favorite because not only do I get to connect with my families, but by using technology I can see them. Many of my coworkers and families know that I love technology, so using it in new ways to connect with families has made it a fascinating time for me.
Everyone is coping with this situation in different ways. For me, some days are much harder than others. Being isolated, feeling the loneliness, and dreading the possibility that someone I love and care for is going to catch this and become really sick or worse has been taxing on my mental health. I have been trying to work with my therapist and use my coping skills to work through my feelings.
Then there are days that it’s much better. On those days, I am very grateful for this time at home with my kids. They are teenagers now and the last time I have been able to spend this much time with them was when they were 3 or 4. Some of my favorite things that I have done with them while we have been at home are playing basketball in the driveway as a family and when they were using sidewalk chalk to draw the outlines of my shadow as I posed in funny poses. The positive memories that I create with them during this time will be with me forever.
One of the things that I have been working on the most during this time is being kinder to myself. It’s challenging to work full time, be a full-time mom and student, and now I have to balance them all from my home while my husband has the stress of working in a place that he is potentially exposed to the virus daily. Sometimes the boundaries blur a bit and I get hard on myself that I’m not doing as much as I should be or want to be doing. Those are the days I have to remember that I am only human, only one person, and I am doing the best I can at this time. And that’s ok.
By Corrie Petersen, Family Support Partner