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How the Pandemic Affected my Family

The pandemic looks quite different for all of us. Many have lost a job or even a loved one. When did all of this really happen? It seems as if the pandemic is endless. We question ourselves, as well as others, about the ending. We may never know! However, to me, the pandemic has ended. You may ask, “Wait, what”? Sometimes I forget there is even such a thing. How is that even possible? Well, it’s all about the mindset. Once you put yourself in a routine. You begin to live a new lifestyle and the worrying goes away. However, the problem is still there lingering around but you are not even affected. Your mind is set on the most important things in life.

January 2020, I learned the true meaning behind “Count your blessings”. As a kid, my mom told me this all the time when I encountered hardships. A kid and hardships. Well, It was hard for me at that time. Now, as I look back, I say to myself “boy, that was a piece of cake”. My year started out grand. So I thought. The next thing I know, things started to transpire. I had a radio interview set up down in Polk County. I was so excited and nervous. What would have I talked about? How would I have sounded? I even started on “The Children’s Manual” but at that time it didn’t even have a name. I started a landing page. I was ready to take 2020 by the horns. However, my head did not allow me to move forward. It wasn’t my thoughts or my mindset. It was physical pain. I thought it was a sinus headache. I knew it was something serious when my vision seemed to look a little dim. I could not sit up anymore. My options were to walk or lie down. My goals were placed on pause. I found out...I didn't have a sinus headache. In reality, I had a rare condition called Pseudotumor Cerebri. When I heard those words. I just thought I had a tumor and my life was over. However, I had no idea that my life was about to get better! My mindset was going to shift. My life was going to shift. I was shifted into a direction I could never imagine. Before the shift, I had to undergo neurosurgery. The surgeon attempted to explain the procedure. When he mentioned he had to shave my hair, I was shocked. When he mentioned a drill, I broke down and cried. I thought of my three-year-old daughter. She was safe in The Bahamas, with my in-laws, enjoying all her new Christmas gifts. I had so many thoughts that raced through my mind. I begged every medical professional that walked into my room. “Please save my eyesight.” I could not imagine my life without seeing the wonders of the land. I could not imagine missing the sight of my baby girl transitioning into a beautiful young woman. I just let go of the thoughts and pushed forward. I endured the pain in my neck as I attempted to lay on my stomach and turn my head to get a lumbar puncture which removed the excess cerebrospinal fluid. I had to lay inside an MRI machine for 2 hours. I had to listen to low music and loud bangs from the machine. As I laid there, I closed my eyes, all I could say, “this too shall pass”. Recovery was the hardest. I was in so much pain. My abdominal area hurt so bad. There were incisions that threaded tubing to the cavity of my intestines from my skull. I needed assistance with everything. I never thought I would use a walker at a very young age. When I went home, I healed and I worried about everything. I researched the foreign object they called Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt (VP Shunt). I watched videos of the procedure. I Googled so many questions. I even joined groups on social media. In my mind, my life would never be the same. I finally made the choice to say…” This is not my life!” I had to make a change”. The change started with my mindset. I woke up each morning and started to count my blessings. I thank God for everything. The things that may seem simple, but at that moment it meant the most. I thank God for the laundry detergent, the washer and dryer, I was able to bathe independently, and the list went on. I saw things on social media that increased my count. In a group I joined, a few people spoke about how their surgeries were pushed back due to the pandemic. I thanked God for allowing me to have my surgery without delays. The pain was unbearable. After I recovered from surgery, I had to think about my family and finances. I thanked God for our investment in insurance. Our insurance helped us catch up on bills. My daughter’s education during the pandemic stressed me. I wonder how she would attend school. How would my baby stay safe at school? This pandemic definitely brought my family closer. We worked as a team. It takes a village to raise a child. I was happy to know my family was there with endless help. My father-in-law, a retired accountant, and active pastor retired in 2019. His life was filled with traveling throughout the world. He missed some moments with my husband and my sister-in-law. However, as a grandpa, he is able to live those moments with his grandchildren. Grandpa now attends preschool virtually with my daughter. He makes Mickey Mouse pancakes, garden, and plays pretend with Peppa pig. I had to count that as a blessing. As a child, I did not have the opportunity to build a bond with my grandparents. My daughter has the ability to build a bond and learn her father’s culture. My mother-in-law is an elementary teacher. I am happy to say she and I collaborated to ensure my daughter learned sight words and began to read a bit early. As my daughter lives in The Bahamas, I learned a new way of parenting. I am able to utilize technology to stay connected with my daughter. I am able to attend class on Zoom. I am able to video call her and merge my husband in the call. We are able to play pretend virtually. She includes us when she makes food or tends to our grand-doll. She is always excited when we attend class. She even learned how to find our pictures in grammy’s phone to video call. When my daughter was in the states, she attended a preschool that has cameras. I logged in throughout my day at work and checked on her.

I completed everything I set out to do in 2020 plus more. I did not let Neurosurgery or my condition stop me from becoming a business owner. I have published two books, sell educational toys, podcast interviews, social media interviews, opened up a brick and mortar teaching CPR/First aid with a shop that has the educational toys and my books available for online purchase or pick up. As a career-orientated parent, I always wanted to manage my time to be a part of my daughter’s educational development. I decided to share how I utilize my background in applied behavior analysis to teach my child her academics at home. I didn’t allow my head or mindset to defeat me. I changed my mindset, counted my blessings, and changed the narrative. I want you to remember “This too shall pass.”

Starting out as a Registered Behavioral Technician, Arianna moved on to advocate and spread the awareness of Applied Behavior Analysis. Pulling from her early experiences, she was able to take what she learned and apply it to the development of her daughter's verbal behavior. Arianna has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Master's of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis.

Check out my interview with Arianna Garner Lewis!

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