Ontario – May 2021

When you think of someone who is strong and resilient who comes to mind?

Your mother? Sister? A relative or friend? A public figure?

Where would you put yourself on that list? Top 5? 10? 100?

Or did you leave yourself off altogether?

I’ve never really referred to myself as strong – it either felt egotistical or I felt like there were so many others out there accomplishing and facing so much more, that I had no claim to that adjective. What does it even mean to be strong? Is strength something that comes naturally, something that is nurtured, or something that is the result of the circumstances we find ourselves in?

Apparently, I have a lot of questions on this topic!

I can tell you that, over this past year, I’ve reevaluated my definition of what it means to be “strong.” It takes strength to explain to my kids, again and again, that school is closed, we can’t see family, there are no outings we’re able to go on yet, no playdates and that no, I don’t know how much longer this will go on. It takes strength to sit through another zoom lesson, encouraging and redirecting my son, when all I want to do is log off. It takes strength to log off on the days that are just too much, accepting that we’re going to have to step outside of our routine and regroup. It takes strength to take on every role as PSWs, respite workers, and other support systems we had in place pre-2020 have yet to resume. It takes strength to navigate appointments, meetings, emails, and different diagnoses from my dining room table, holding a toddler, while zoom class takes place in the background. Almost 15 months later, I’m no longer as enthusiastic about adapting or pivoting or resiliency, all ideals that have been spoken about and celebrated to great lengths. Now, I’m just tired. As simple and straightforward as that may sound, it pretty much encompasses it all.

I’m also so proud. I’m proud that we’ve done absolutely everything in our power to stay safe and keep those around us as safe as possible as well. I’m proud that we’ve logged on to class as often as we have, that we’ve navigated tantrums and meltdowns, therapeutic trials, appointments, and some really hard days from our home, as a little team. I honestly didn’t think I could do the initial two weeks that had been announced, and yet 15 months later, we’re getting up every day, putting one foot in front of the other, and trying our very best. Whether that means taking the day hour by hour sometimes, or minute by minute others, we’re (still) doing it!

I’m not naive or ignorant – I know that others have it much worse. But in much the same way that leaving ourselves off that list of who we consider to be strong, not recognizing the difficulty we’re each facing is also detrimental. This isn’t a competition, and while we may have our similarities, everyone finds themselves with their own unique challenges. Our lives demand us to be strong every single day, in different ways and to different degrees, and that, above all else, is worthy of acknowledgement. Celebrate how you show up, however that may look!

I hope you’re able to take a minute today to realize the million and one ways that you’re strong, day in and day out. If you live in Ontario especially, you’re pushing through almost a year and a half later, and that’s nothing to look down at! We’re hours away from what is, hopefully, a productive and meaningful announcement. Regardless of what is broadcast, we will face it and do our best to keep going!

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