We get our first batch of rainy days.

The trees are still pretty, but against the dark sky they are not as vibrant. Chilly becomes plain cold, and the sweatshirt is replaced by a heavy raincoat. The rainy days seem to come in batches which means we all know that good days will follow and the pattern will continue as we segway into winter.

There is something about these rainy few days that have created a dip in Elizabeth’s mood. I have noticed it pretty quickly. Probably because we are spending so much time together due to COVID. The weather, which is actually on T.V. as I write this, with the local news people laughing in a sad way about today’s “total washout”, would not have bothered her prior to COVID. It would probably not really even get noticed because she was doing so many other things in her days and going places during the week.

However, since COVID erased those plans long ago (and although we made new ones…pretty good ones ), it just seems that this is one more loss: not being able to go outside to sit, swing or take our walks has hit Elizabeth with the reality that being inside, inside and more inside is how she will face this change in seasons.

For those who do not know, Elizabeth is my daughter with special needs. She has global dyspraxia and sensory processing disorder (SPD). Those with dyspraxia can find an open ended schedule to be anxiety provoking and therefore, she needs to have a loose outline of her days activities. I might see a day free of obligations as a nice rest from the busy but she will probably see it differently. Hence the anxiety with inside, inside and more inside.

I sat with her last night before she was going to bed to talk…again……. about the shift in her mood. Just to help set the scene for you: She is in bed, listening to her music she puts on to…sort of spa music as I come in she flips over, sits up, wide eyed and with so much irritation in her voice, says ” I hate this rain, its really getting to me…you know?” followed by ” I can’t go outside, I hate this rain!”

So we talked about things we can do instead of walking outside, what we can do instead of being outside and the importance being able to adjust to things. I told her again that having her feelings is fine and that we all have ALOT of them lately. But we need to try to help ourselves find the things we need to do to make us happy for a bit and to find joy. We promised to talk more in the morning and make a list of things she would like to do now that things are changing here

It was a nice conversation at 10:30 at night. But Elizabeth fell asleep quite a while later, I knew this because I could her her faint music being restarted. This really got me thinking about the continued effects of COVID on our special needs children and how they have had to adjust to changes and losses, remote learning or no therapies, not seeing friends or going places. It has been a series of losses for them., all of us really, but for them the adjustment is that much harder. But maybe it is this one more loss/adjustment that is challenging her reserves and making her see such loss of what she could do…..once again.

As I write this, she hasn’t gotten up yet and I am wondering how she will feel. I share this story because as much as we see the challenge of the big changes, sometimes it is the little ones that carry a lot of weight too. I hope that she will be feeling calmer in herself…but with the rain hitting the window, who is to say.

I know as we continue this COVID journey, her emotional needs will be changing as they have since the beginning and I will remind myself that for Elizabeth it is the little things that can carry the great significance now.

I wish everyone a peaceful week. Please wear a mask! I do for my mom and others who could get really ill!!!

Michele Gianetti author of Elizabeth Believes In Herself

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