I turned off all of my alarms tonight.

On any given day I have at least 8 alarms and notifications reminding me to do something. When everything shut down a week ago, I decided to leave two morning alarms on so my family of five could keep some sort of schedule.

Tonight I stopped.

This is unlike anything we’ve ever been through. We’re all scrambling to make sense of it. We’re quelling our anxiety with plans and homeschooling and schedules.

But why?

How many times have we wished we could slow it all down? How many times did we wish we didn’t have to get up at the crack of dawn and rush all day? How many times did we want to skip that evening meeting?

Now, it’s all canclled for us. Carpe diem!

Granted, these are not ideal circumstances. This is horrible. When you think about it, that’s all the more reason to give in and make the best of it.

As this unfolds, we’ll be lucky if we don’t lose someone we love. We’ll be lucky if we don’t get sick. We will all either know someone or be someone who is in deep mourning over losing someone to this virus.

We’re worried about keeping up a routine. We’re worried about homeschooling. We’re worried about speech therapy and losing all that progress. But soon we’re going to have to explain widespread death to our children. We’re going to have to explain why this wasn’t prevented; why no one acted sooner. Our children are about experience grief, loss, mourning, all while in a form of isolation. Right now we’re joking about how hard it is being at home with everyone, but it hasn’t really gotten hard – yet. Forget school lessons, we’re all about to learn very real life lessons. We need to prepare for that.

Turn the alarm off. Forget about the schedule. If you are blessed enough to still be able to work, work. Love your loved ones. Truly connect with them. Use this strange, uncertain time to rest, read, and just be. Use this time to advocate for improving our failing health care system and a widespread lack of supports for those who need them.

This mess we’re in, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Throw that rulebook away and live however you see fit. It’s the surreal, unwanted chance of a lifetime to do whatever you want with your days from the confines of your home and nearby nature.

When we return to our new normal, it’s going to be different. The world will have new priorities. Use this time to figure out what you’ll do when we hit the reset button. What lessons are we learning now? What should we bring with us into the new version our lives – post COVID-19?

We all know how to do it. We did it once before when we became parents. Every parent who has a child with a disability knows how to roll with the punches. We can lead the way in setting the new agenda. But for now, turn your alarm off. We’re going to need the rest.

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