COVID-19 While Black and parenting/single parenting a differently-abled adolescent Black boy! I empathize with every family that has had to execute IEP’s, create socialization opportunities, be the lunch lady, explain the virus/social distancing/sheltering in place, supervise remote learning all while working from home, Zooming in and out on the hour!
Many parents contracted COVID-19 from having to risk their lives buying food and having non-negotiable community contact while still having to parent. Amazingly enough, many of our children didn’t contract COVID (one less trauma to process), but had to experience being helpless and hapless.
The disproportionate response to social distancing in the Black community left parents with “typically developing children” paralyzed with fear. On the limited occasions our children step outside to get some air, I run to the door to make sure my child is observing my COVID response and following the routine. Before he leaves I check his face mask (which he doesn’t like to wear and states regularly, “I’m not talking to anyone why do I need it?”), ID, yellow card, and cell phone (tracking the location the whole time) praying that he doesn’t unknowingly walk into trouble (an unknowing, unkind person).
Now and AGAIN having to explain why Black people are being murdered. AGAIN/George~Ahmad~Breonna/Minnesota while navigating all of the above. I don’t know about anyone else but I got tired just writing this––and I’m sure I left a lot out. I don’t usually speak about parenting my differently-abled child as it has been a complete blessing to parent him, and would never want anyone to think I’m complaining, but MY cup runneth over these days, and I can’t help to think about everyone navigating the same things and everything else the universe is offering.
Feeling like the expectation most have of a parent is that we forge ahead lovingly, and with resolve despite the daily challenges. I want to acknowledge my own limitations, growth and struggles and send love and support to those on the unspoken battlefield. Fellow warriors I
Sergia M. Andrade is the assistant director of trauma support services at Common Justice.