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Happy Distractions

“Do you need anything?”


Since I knew “A swingset!” wasn’t the answer she was looking for, I just told my sister that we were all set. Because really, food and things we’re okay on. Plus my job is considered “essential”, so I’m already out in the world during Wisconsin’s current Safer At Home order. As long as I’m out, I might as well be the designated shopper for our family and any other friends and family who might need it.


But what we really need right now is a happy distraction. Those are harder to pick up at the local grocery store. I mean, sure… I could grab a puzzle book while I’m at the checkout, but that’s not going to hold me. And it’s sure not going to keep Nolan’s attention for any longer than it takes him to push it away.


So we struggle a bit. Kirk goes through Nolan’s school work with him in the mornings. After that’s done, Nolan’s got time to fill. He can be a hard kid to keep busy, too. He’s a big fan of YouTube for Kids (we’re not brave enough to give him full access to all the boobs the internet has to offer yet…) and movement, but things like coloring and art projects are just not his jam.


We keep waiting for the weather to clear up so that we can get outside a bit, too. Nolan is usually good on walks-- though he clearly prefers trails in the woods to sidewalks in the neighborhood (me too, buddy). He also loves to ride the bikes they use in Adaptive Physical Education at school, but we haven’t gotten one for home yet. And of course, we left his swing set behind when we moved out of our old house last year-- the posts were set good and deep, and we didn’t have time to dig out the concrete…


But for now, he walks on the dry days. And he uses the rocking chair in his room every day. It still feels like he should have more options-- I just don’t necessarily know what they are for him. I am on the lookout, though… We’ve got bubbles and fidgets to last for a little while… And soon the backyard will be dry enough to play in. Those things will help.


Nolan’s not the only one who needs a happy distraction, though. As adults, we definitely need them too. Let’s face it-- these are stressful days… My fuse is definitely getting shorter, and some days it’s hard to focus on anything with my mind going 42 different directions at once.


A current favorite happy moment-- this photo sent from school with comments from classmates on the board.


I’ve definitely been looking for the happy in all of this mayhem. I’m trying to look for fun projects that I can do with my Silhouette Cameo (like a Cricut-- just a different company) and other crafty endeavors… And I love to see the unexpected positive effects that have come from the lifestyle changes that all of this staying home has had worldwide-- things like the water in the canals of Venice being clearer than it’s been in years and years (which apparently is related to the lack of sediment being stirred up from the bottom without the typical traffic) or the air quality improving in parts of the world. Plus the current low gas prices are a nice bonus.


But the happy things that I love most are the ways we’re coming together to support each other during these challenging times. I appreciate the efforts of cable providers, streaming content providers and others that are offering entertainment options to their customers at no additional charge. Even more, I’m grateful to the companies that are offering their essential employees bonus pay during these difficult times.


Ironically, though, the biggest impact seems to be coming from the smallest sources. It’s the efforts of individuals and small businesses that are making the biggest impact on our communities. Local restaurants stepped in to offer free meals to kids who might have gone without in the absence of school lunches. There’s also been a huge push to support local restaurants by ordering carry out in order to keep the businesses afloat and employees working. And people all over are decorating their homes with hearts for others to watch for while they're out on neighborhood walks.


Plus there are artists sharing their work for free. Whether it’s musicians offering online lessons or dancers live-streaming performances… Or several illustrators, like my good friend Sara Hickman, are offering free downloadable coloring books right now. Considering that these artists have poured countless hours of work into what they’re offering and that these “freebies” are where their income typically comes from, it’s hard not to be a little blown away.


Since we’re bound to be in this situation for a while, though, I’m going to keep looking for those happy distractions. I’ll craft and color whenever I’m able. I’ll sneak up to my mom’s house and tape notes and artwork from Nolan onto her windows like an amateur art ninja. And I’ll look for ways to support my local businesses, friends and family.


But first, I’m going to try to create my own happy distraction. That’s right-- I’m working on Our Chaos’s first ever giveaway. Since this is very much a spur of the moment idea, I don’t have all of the details yet (they're in the works)… But watch our Facebook page for an announcement tomorrow! Because it’s going to be AWESOME!!

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