My Quarantine Hero

My wife and I are nurses and have been at work during this pandemic. With schools closed we contemplated who would care for Grayson, our 5-year old son with autism.

In our pre-Covid life, he attended school for a full day and received OT, PT, Speech, Counseling, Music, Art and Yoga Therapy in addition to the core academics. School was followed by ABA at home for 3 hours/day Monday-Friday. You guys know the drill…it’s A LOT!!

We also have Nicolas our 19-year old neurotypical son who is in his 2nd year of college. Because we are healthcare workers I think we were initially more stressed about our own health and well being and the impact it would have on our family.

Would we get sick? Would we get the kids sick? What would that be like in our NYC apartment?

Then all the worries sunk in about our sweet boy Grayson losing all the skills he’s worked so hard to attain. It’s that dirty word, you all know it too.

Regression!

When we learned that both would transition to an online learning platform we panicked. We knew Nic would be fine but what would online learning look like for Grayson. While Nic occasionally babysits Grayson, we couldn’t fathom how this would work. 

Nic is very mature, intelligent, hilarious, possesses an exuberant personality and is a very kind old soul. However, he’s also very strong willed and dances to the beat of his own drum.

So, when we told him he would be homeschooling his brother, we imagined there would be some level of pushback that we’d have to maneuver to get him to agree. To our delight, he willingly agreed and we took a deep breath and hoped for the best.

In the beginning of quarantine, I was making a visual school schedule and trying to keep Nic organized. That was short lived as I screwed up the Zoom class codes and forgot to forward him a couple emails from the teachers. The teachers and therapists added Nic to their e-mails and he literally took over. 

He organized the weekly schedule on a whiteboard, called into classes and built a strong rapport with both the school and separate ABA team (we affectionately refer to them all as the Graycare team.

Grayson excelled and thrived with Nic as teacher and his behavior and verbal skills improved significantly. We were both shocked and pleased.  On our days off we have stepped in to do the homeschooling to give Nic a break. We could sense the teachers and therapists missed him and most sessions ended with compliments of Nic and how well Grayson does with him. We were never offended, always super proud mommas. 

On one occasion, I struggled with four back-to-back Zoom classes and was on the brink of tears when Nic emerged from his bedroom to say he would take over for the afternoon ABA session. I’m not ashamed to say I escaped from the room in a hurry before he changed his mind and I never felt so relieved by his compassion and kindness. 

In addition to homeschooling, he took on the household chores of grocery shopping and preparing and cooking dinners for his exhausted nurse moms. 

As I reflect back on the struggles this quarantine has brought me, I am grateful when I realize that it has also given me the gift of eternal peace. 

We all worry about what will happen to our sweet children after we leave this earth. Most times I can’t bring myself to even think about it, but sometimes I let myself go there and the anxiety and panic take over and I just pray that I‘ll live forever.

Nic is my quarantine hero! I still want to live forever but I’m comforted to know that Grayson will be alright when I depart this earth because he has Nic.

I will always worry about them both but I will rest in eternal peace, providing there is no homeschooling in my final resting place.

Written by, Jeanine Gordon

Jeanine Gordon is an oncology nurse that lives in New York City.  Her and her wife Ruthy have a 5 year son with autism named Grayson and a 19 year old son in college named Nicolas.  

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Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook, subscribe for exclusive videos, and subscribe to our newsletter.

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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