Moment 2 Moment Masterpiece Parenting Blog
parenting and isolation

The Isolation Is Real

by: Elizabeth Thorndike
Dan and I snuggled in one night on the couch amid the first quiet moments that followed bedtime. You know the moments I am talking about; The first deep breath and gentle realization that your precious ones are tucked in (for at least a few hours). For me this moment shares company with the very first sip of a perfect cup of coffee, or the first smell of saltwater as we visit the beach. Basically, it is amazing!

As we snuggled on the couch the quiet moment led to sweet conversation. I confessed a heaviness on my heart. I explained to Dan that having to say “no” to so many of our friends’ invitations because of our journey, was difficult. But, having the invitations stop coming altogether, was crushing me. He paused and said he felt the same.

Letting Go of Your Old Life

Our journey as a married couple, up to that point, had been filled with BBQs with friends and game nights. We were connoisseurs of the outdoors and loved to hike and snowshoe. We would throw Savannah in a backpack and go! Things socially had slowed down after Shelby became mobile. She was into everything and could wreck a room in ten seconds flat. She was busy and she was a runner. We started spending gatherings at friends chasing her down and keeping her away from the food table, or breakable things within reaching distance. We stopped having conversations with friends, stopped going to BBQs, and kid parties became a chore. We finally let go. It was hard. It was sad.

special needs parenting and isolation

Creating New Types of Experiences

We began staying home and creating our own experiences. Over time, we saw God’s blessing in this. We were becoming stronger as a couple and as a family. Dan and I started to find little ways to bring more joy and laughter into our home. New routines were created and small celebrations for things finally achieved, became huge. We had a dance party for just about everything. We built more forts…went on more family walks (away from the road) …ate more ice cream…and created more amazing art. We blessed neighbors with notes and cookies. We spent millions of minutes at parks (again, away from the road). We adventured through tidepools and ogled at little crabs. We did not eat out. We did not attend birthday parties. We did not go on dates. It was all just easier for our family.

We grieved at times, but we never let it outweigh the sweet family dynamic we had created together.

We missed our friends though. We missed game nights. We missed BBQs. The invites became less and less until eventually they stopped altogether. I guess we had said “no” too many times. Maybe they did not want us to feel bad by having to say no yet one more time. Who knows? Either way, the disappointment was real, and the hurt, deep. We grieved at times, but we never let it outweigh the sweet family dynamic we had created together. We knew it would not always be like this, at least we hoped. However, we found the good in what was. We found treasures in the middle of our isolation.

Things we do for fun

Precious Thorndike moments

Not alone

Sweet friends, on this journey as special needs parents, the isolation can be tough. Being around others where our kiddos might not be understood can hurt deep, so eventually staying home can become our new normal. We so understand this, and we want you to know that we see you. We know how lonely it can be, even more so as a single parent. We acknowledge your journey and pray for you all. It is our hope to continue to create ways for the isolation to be lessened, and our community to grow. We need each other and we thrive when we are “withed” by a like-minded community.

If you are reading this and finding yourself in acute isolation, please reach out to us. We want to encourage you. We want you to know you are not alone. The medical appointments, the therapies, the IEP meetings… we see you. Falling into bed in pure exhaustion and waking up early to help with routines and medical procedures… we see you. Wishing to be understood and have deep friendships once again… we see you.

Your stories become our company. Your thoughts, become our strength and encouragement.

For those of you that have ideas for us that could help with the isolating times, please leave your thoughts. For those of you that have been lonely, please leave your hurt or even encouragement for others. Your stories become our company. Your thoughts, become our strength and encouragement. We are a beautiful community, and we pray for God to help you find the treasures when you are hurting… the laughter in the different. We love you!

about us

Meet the Thorndikes - Moment to Moment Family

Hi there! We are the crazy cool parents to 5 amazing and crazy cool kiddos. But, first, we are Dan and Elizabeth Thorndike – married 15 years and living this life one moment at a time. We have a full and blessed life, but we are clumsily tackling a journey we never foresaw ourselves living.

Read our story of how this journey all started in our blog post titled:
“The Beginning. Our Special Needs Journey”


Elizabeth Thorndike

Introverted extrovert – that’s how I describe myself. I absolutely love being a mama but never knew how hard it would be, nor how deeply I could love.



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