Family Stories

Families Share Real StoriesSignature

It is in the stories that we share with each other where life starts to make sense. To be listened to and affirmed, to learn from and say ‘okay I get it now’, to see the possibilities – that’s what it is all about. It is not in the how to’s or the check list of steps to follow  where things become ‘seen’ and  understood.  It is in the real life stories that inspire us, encourage us, and connect with us. Whether through a giggle or a tear, a smile or an aha moment – there is nothing like it.  We hope  you enjoy our stories.                                                     . . . . . .  Windsor-Essex Family Network Families and Friends

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Sewing Encouragement

May 1, 2020  

Leaving the house hasn’t been easy for me lately, I can find a million reasons why I shouldn’t go out and that little devil named anxiety will keep me home. I know a lot of other people can relate to these feeling too. I don’t usually feel this way, I can usually manage the daily juggling act with grace and a smile but these days the load is much heavier.

I made it to No Frills today. That was the goal I set for myself. Get groceries. My little man wanted lasagna for dinner, a simple request I was determined to grant. While at the store I’m being super careful. I don’t want to go in the wrong direction, get in anyone’s space . . . I’m starting to feel overwhelmed. I haven’t been to a grocery store since March break! Six weeks ago! Wow! Just WOW!

I can see a senior woman bent over struggling with a big bag of flour, trying to get it to that awkward bottom rack under her cart. It hits the floor and as she tries to push it, her cart rolls away. Her shoulders sink, her petite frame was losing this battle. Physical distancing. . . do I help? I could see she was wearing a mask from the side angle I had, and I had one on too so I walked over to offer to help. When she turned to look at me I caught my breath. She was wearing a mask I had donated weeks ago. I’m not sure how she got it, I’ve made close to 100 by now and given them away in batches to be distributed. But it was a unique fabric that my Mom had given me, it was unmistakable.

I didn’t tell her about the mask. I just enjoyed the moment. I saw her a couple more times as I shopped, her eyes smiled at me. I felt much calmer, I was able to finish my shopping and that overwhelming feeling was now a manageable little tummy knot. I got this now. . . . . . .  And that lasagne was extra delicious.

Written by a dedicated and passionate mom 

Picture from

Grateful for Opportunities Found

May 6, 2020

Seven weeks in and things are different for me than they were the first two weeks of this ‘shutdown’. It was feeling more unsettling in the beginning between my adult sons and their work and school situation, my parents’ arrival home from their winter destination, grocery shopping for elderly parents and aunties, and all kinds of information flowing about Covid-19 that was getting overwhelming.  There were new things to think about, like family members needing to wash work clothes upon entering the house, and needing to shower immediately, the disinfecting of counters and other high touch areas, trying to stay two metres apart ‘inside’ a small home. So many new routines that felt unfamiliar.  

As a primarily positive thinking, glass half-full person and single mom, this Covid-19 pandemic has been an interesting time for me.

Today I can say that, I’m now enjoying a slower pace of life.  I am taking advantage of the newly found time with my sons and my animals.  I have found a rhythm to the new and different responsibilities and routines, and figured out what is doable.

I have spent many hours in the car with my youngest son there and back from his work place,  and other destinations, to pick up and drop off things for others. He is accruing practice driving hours to improve his skills, and I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this.

My days have been filled with more meal preparation then I ever remember doing before . . . and which unfortunately I still detest! Lol

And of course there is my work which involves a few different things.  I provide phone support to young people and family members living with disabilities or mental health struggles that need a reassuring voice, or help with school assignments or filling out forms. I have had touch points with families as we figure out new strategies for supporting a loved one who is struggling, and I have been sharing resources that would be helpful with others.

If you were to ask, ‘how are you taking care of yourself’, upon reflection I see that my answers to this question are rich.  I have more time for myself, between my family and work, which I have intentionally filled in good ways:

  • I can read the paper with a cup of tea with the enjoyment of knowing there is nothing pressing that I have to get to immediately. Most days I actually finish the entire paper!
  • I take a lot of “physically-distanced” walks with a friend to stay connected and grounded, and also with my son’s dog.
  • I’ve been limiting the news I watch to only a 1/2 hour a day, to get the latest facts on the virus’ world impact and information about new funding opportunities for young people and those with disabilities so I can pass it along.

Between the family and work responsibilities, I really have settled in to what works for myself and my family:  good food (more cooking), intentionally staying connected with my sons and friends (destination car rides and walks), doing what I love (reading), exercising and getting fresh air (while walking), and limiting my intake of news to the basics.  

The hardest part for me has been not being able to see or spend time with my oldest son who is being well supported by a community living staff team in his home, an apartment nearby.

I remind myself and my three boys daily, that despite all that is going on in the world, how blessed we are to live in this wonderful country . . . in our safe homes with each other . . . and ample food to last until restrictions begin lifting.

I am praying for families and people who don’t have their basic needs met during this time; there are many in Windsor and Essex County.  There are: people who cannot get outside in a backyard or for walks for fresh air, and families who are struggling with teaching and the technology needed for their students’ home learning while caring for their loved one with disabilities. There are those who don’t have transportation to get to essential work, or money to buy nutritious food or pay their rent.  I am reminded that we must do as much as we can to support these folks in our community in whatever way we can.

Stay safe!

Written by Karen W.