What my child has taught me about resilience

What a decade this past year has been.

We went from planning my oldest daughter’s sixth birthday party — complete with slime and My Little Pony — to the entire world being shut down.

We were living in a suburb of Houston when the pandemic hit, and all of the school systems were on spring break. With almost no time to prepare, districts began to roll out their virtual school plans for the rest of the year.  

My daughter, Zoe, has autism, and I’ve noticed some early signs of ADHD and anxiety. She thrives on structure and routine. Virtual learning had almost none of those things.

So, we set up a learning station in our dining room and I created a schedule. Most of Zoe’s work was self-driven, which was a big help.

My husband was working outside the home, and I was juggling virtual schooling, working, and taking care of an infant by myself.

We were confident that by August, there would be some sort of plan in place for in-person learning.

There was no such plan.

First grade came in like a freight train. Now, there was a new schedule and a Zoom link. The camera had to be on all day. And Zoe had to juggle all of these changes with me working and taking care of her baby sister.

Zoe loves school and she loves to learn. But this? This new normal was starting to overwhelm her and show up in her behavior. There were more tears and more meltdowns than we’ve ever experienced before.

But even on those terrible days, when she wanted to do anything but schoolwork, Zoe kept showing up. Every morning, when the alarm clock went off, her two little feet hit the floor, and she was ready to tackle whatever came her way. To me, that’s courage.

Continuing to do what needs to be done, especially when it’s difficult, is an act of resilience. My 6-year-old taught me that. She showed me that even when things seem impossible, there is still a reason to keep going.

In December, we relocated to Maryland. With this move came a brand-new school for Zoe. For the second time this school year, she started school in front of a screen.

But something has changed, and the difference in Zoe has been like night and day.

She is back to loving school. She is participating in class, and her meltdowns have gotten much more under control. We work together to calm ourselves down when necessary.

Zoe has taught me how important resilience is. Now, I put my feet on the floor each morning, and I promise that no matter what the day brings, I will show up and take care of business.


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