by Karina Peña and Family
Up until March of 2020, I had the same routine for over 10 years. I attended my program at FSCN three days a week, attended a church group monthly, and took small vacations throughout out the year, including my favorite to Disneyland. I liked my routine, because it helps me to understand my days of the week, when holidays are, and when I can expect parties with my family to celebrate birthdays and other special occasions.
Like everyone else, my world radically changed in March 2020. At first, I did not understand what was happening. I could not go to my program anymore; there were no church groups, and upcoming parties were cancelled; I could not go out anymore. I missed seeing my nephews and our family dinner parties. I missed the program and would ask about the FCSN bus.
I was told people everywhere were sick, and I had to be extra careful. If I wanted to see family members, we all had to wear masks and keep our distance. I could not eat with my entire family anymore, and there were no trips to Disneyland. My dad’s big April birthday party in Las Vegas was canceled. I saw my doctors on the computer screens instead of going to medical offices. When the bus stopped coming to pick me up, I was confused and frustrated because I thought it was just me that could not go to FCSN anymore. What had I done wrong?
A few weeks later, when my sister placed a computer in front of me, I first thought we were going to play a game or watch a movie. When I started seeing some familiar faces, I squinted, looked closely, and was amazed to see people I recognized. I saw Ms. Maria, Ms. Diana, and some of my friends. I noticed that they were not at FCSN but in their own homes. I started to understand that my program was not only closed for me. I became a bit weepy, but happy at the same time. Seeing my friends and teachers helped me realize that I was not alone. We started playing games, and I was able to participate and enjoy my classes.
I look forward to the program and seeing everyone on my computer screen. Art continues to be my favorite. I gather my papers, markers, and look closely at the screen to follow along, with help. I like requesting songs for the sing-alongs. I also like playing Hangman where I practice the alphabet.
My life is quite different now than it was 10 months ago. I have a different routine and when I ask if and when I will go back to my program, I am reminded that we all need “special medicine” and not to be “sick” to go back. I am thankful that my family and I are healthy, and I feel fortunate because I know not all families are this lucky. My life may be different right now, but I am thankful I have my friends and family to help me stay healthy. I now know that we need to “wait” to get through this.