Summer Vacation: A New Normal

How would you normally spend your summer vacation? Would you take advantage of no school/homework and stay up late and sleep in? Would you go to camp or work a summer job? Would you see friends and family almost every other day? Or, would you go on trips to beaches and beautiful islands? No matter what it your summer would have looked like, chances are, you probably won’t be able to do everything you wanted due to COVID-19. It’s completely changed our summer!

For most people, summer vacation is one of the best times of the year, but this year, things just aren’t the same. When we were doing virtual learning, we couldn’t wait for summer to start. Now that it’s here, we have nothing to do and are bored out of our minds. For some kids who graduated, this summer was supposed to be unforgettable, although it sure is unforgettable, just not in the way you would think. Graduations and celebrations are different, and spending time with their friends before going off to college is not like it was in the past.

To keep ourselves busy, we’ve taken up hobbies and done things around the house to pass the time. For my family, it’s been going on bike rides. When quarantine started, my dad worked on bikes for my mom, little brother, and himself so when summer came around, we were ready to go! Almost every other day when my dad is done working from home, we drive down to our local bike trail and ride our bikes for hours! While they bike, I drive my Quantum® Edge® 3 wheelchair with iLevel® and I love it! Before they started bike riding, I was the only person who could appreciate things like a smooth road because of my wheelchair. Now my family and I can relate as we cruise down the miles of paved trails together!

This brings me to the good points of being stuck at home with my family this summer. You may not realize this but being quarantined has its advantages. We’re able to spend incredible amounts of time together, which we were never able to do before. We’re also discovering new things to do every day, such as, going on bike rides/walks together, doing family obstacle courses together and I’m even thinking about starting an Etsy shop for the homemade bracelets that they’ve been helping me make. We get to have movie night as a family, play games together, work on projects around the house like gardening and organizing. Most importantly, we’re having dinner together every night as a family.

While we’ve been able to spend lots of time with our family, we do have other family that don’t live in the same house as us. Sure, you can FaceTime them as much as you want since they’re stuck at home and bored like us but it gets to the point where you miss seeing them in person! Drive-bys where you see them for thirty seconds from twenty feet away just isn’t cutting it anymore.

Thankfully, since we’ve all been doing our part and the number of COVID-19 cases has greatly decreased, as long as we keep our masks on and socially distance ourselves, we’re able to see our friends and family! This means we can now see each other outdoors at parks and sit across from each other outside and catch up. Now that it’s allowed, that’s what we’ve been doing mostly this summer. We were even able to go to a private beach with our friends that was not crowded at all and still social distance! This sure is better than FaceTime! It’s important to take advantage of being outdoors during the summer because for someone like myself who is immune compromised, winters mean being stuck indoors and not being able to be outside in the cold.

Although being stuck at home hasn’t been the greatest thing ever, when you make the most of it, it can be pretty nice. Just remember: get used to these new circumstances we are now in and find the positive in it all. After all, it may just become our new norm!

About Sakina Shamsi: Sakina lives in New Jersey with her parents and brother. Although she has spinal muscular atrophy type II, Sakina lives a full and independent lifestyle. She is active in the disability community and enjoys horseback riding, baking and crafting. Click here to learn more about Sakina.