The New Normal with COVID-19

I've seen the phrase "the new normal" passed around here and there and believe it's a good fit for what we are going through as March 2020 comes to a close.  The Brown Family is ready to begin week 4 of social distancing, as we started a week before most.  I don't believe this will be over in a few more weeks.  I don't even believe it will be over in a few months.  I think we will see a new normal emerging and will never be the same as we were pre-COVID-19.

I'm not a scientist nor statistician.  I have actually avoided reading too much about the virus in order to maintain my own mental health.  I have read, watched, and listened to what I need in order to protect my family and community.  I've traveled down a rabbit hole and read way more than I've wanted to a few times.  Two of the best sources of information for me have been "Science Mike's" streamcast from 11 days ago (So remember when you watch that numbers/data has changed significantly since then.)  and this The Atlantic article, which says a lot of the same things Mike does. (Mike's YouTube video's auto-captions are as okay as auto-captions can be except for it doesn't translate "COVID" correctly. I wish it was properly captioned. I considered interpreting it and still might, I think it's so good.)

For our family, the information I do have tells me that at the very least we will be engaging in an ebb and flow of social distancing for a good year.  I envision that Ken and I will continue working from home for the rest of this year, only traveling out of the home for work on rare occasion.  It's not lost on me the privilege we have by being able to continue to work remotely.  Just thinking about it puts me on the verge of tears multiple times daily.  Ken is working for a video relay service provider, who is more needed now than ever.  His business, Scan Mailboxes, is essential as it's a postal service, so continues to operate.  He and his business partner take very seriously the fact they are able to keep a handful of people employed during this crisis.  It's a blessing and a burden and it makes me proud.  Their team is amazing and are working together to ensure their own and their customers' health.  My job continues as well as we provide resources to schools, students, families and professionals during this shift to online learning, making sure Deaf, hard-of-hearing, DeafBlind, deaf, and DeafDisabled people are not neglected in the shift.

We are thankful our oldest and our grandchild still live with us at the time. It's nice to have us all under one roof and requires fewer people going out for supplies.  Our second-born is a senior this year. We still have no idea what the rest of the school year will look like for her.  Our oldest son JUST got a job right as this crisis began, so he's on hold for now.  He was going to work for an "essential" business, but we have asked him to wait until at least this first wave has died down before he considers starting a job where he would interact with customers every minute of the day.
Tian and Chance sit on the concrete, between river rocks and paved brick, building towers with the river rocks. Tian wears a tie-dye shirt and Chance has thick, curly, shoulder-length hair. They are both sitting so you can't see their faces.
Tian and Chance on one of many walks

Travis, carrying a water bottle, walks away from the camera, down a dirt trail, surrounded by trees and greenery.
Travis at Barton Greenbelt

The two youngest boys, who many of you are most curious about simply because of how this blog began, will start middle school in the fall!!  They have had the past two weeks "off" for spring break and start their "school" routine tomorrow.  Having homeschooled for so long, I believe I have a realistic view of what that will look like for us.  No more than 3 hours of school work per day.  They naturally do a lot of learning on their own (more about that in a near-future blog). They are managing the crisis well and don't seem to be scared, which is how we are trying to keep it.  Yes, even before school closed, they were called out and asked if they had Coronavirus because they are Chinese.  I hope that's as bad as it ever gets for them. 

This blog has morphed over the years. It all started as a way to document our adoption process, then became somewhat of a record of language milestones for the boys. As the kids all grew and life changes as it does, the blog became a random collection of posts about whatever happened to be going on in our lives, but topics I hoped would be helpful: stuff to do around Austin, language rights for Deaf children, saving money, downsizing, depression.  There hasn't really been a "theme" here, except that it chronicles a small part of our family's journey over the years.

Quite a few friends and acquaintances have asked us to post updates (videos and blogs) on the boys and their language development.  I'm happy to acquiesce, because writing a blog is often cathartic for me, but it will run the range of all that is happening in our family, including the boys, especially through the COVID-19 pandemic.  I hope to encourage some hearing parents who are home with their deaf kids during the shelter-in-place.

Some topics are easier to write about than others.  Transparency is always risky on the internet. Tone is often lost in text and many who read here will have never met me or my family, so blogging certainly opens the writer open to judgement and criticism.  But I'm game if you are!  I'm considering "ASL-izing" the blogs just because we don't see each other's faces nearly enough.  What do you think?


  1. Replies
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