My daughter Olivia, 15, has Down syndrome which puts her at higher risk category. The isolation of covid has been incredibly challenging. Her school has been remote since last March and her in-home therapies moved to telemedicine as well. All the activities we used to enjoy suddenly disappeared and we were stuck at home. Even the playground closed during our lockdown last spring. She eventually understood on some level; we walked past the playground and she’d say “park closed, coronavirus”. Hearing her sweet voice say coronavirus made it sound all the more ominous. It broke my heart.
Highly social, Olivia found a way to safely connect with people. She loves her daily bike rides in the neighborhood. During the rides, she rang the bell on her handlebar and called out to people, “what’s your name?” “helllo!” “have a nice day!” Over the course of the summer, she learned neighbor’s names. One day, a neighbor had his camera ready and waited for Olivia and her daddy to ride by. He held up the camera and asked to take a photo. The photo is attached. They dropped off a large print for us with a kind note which included an invitation to get together once the pandemic is over.
“We are thrilled every time we see John and Olivia ride by. We are big believers in getting kids out on bikes, and Olivia’s smile often brightens up a dull day.”
Making connections, it’s something Olivia has always done. I love that she found a way during a pandemic and it warms my heart that our neighbors reciprocated. The photo is framed and hanging in our breakfast nook. It will be a reminder of a bright spot during a very scary time.