Alexia Louder holding her grandson Kai, next to her daughter Peyton.

Being a mother is no easy task, especially when there’s a pandemic causing hardships at every turn.

LHHS alumna Alexia Louder depicts these hardships in a drawing she made after her daughter, Peyton, shared her worries and concerns about her son, Kai. Peyton is a teen mother who gave birth to her son three months prematurely. Kai had to spend the first few months in NICU, and now it seems they are being faced with another challenge right after becoming acclimated.

“This drawing represents the preparations and worries of a mother during the coronavirus,” Alexia says.

Alexia also has kids at Lake Highlands High School, Lake Highlands Junior High and Wallace Elementary who have had to acclimate to the new normal.

About Alexia’s painting:This is my latest drawing, which is graphite on plywood. It is titled “Mother and Child: 2020”.  The subjects are my oldest daughter and my 1 year old grandson.  I wanted to capture an unexpected, yet powerful moment.

How are you and your family doing?
Our family is doing well.  We have a large family with 7 people in our household.  At the beginning of the pandemic, I was concerned that our home was going to be filled with sibling fighting. Surprisingly, for the most part, the different personalities have managed to respect each other’s boundaries. In early April, we had a couple of medical scares- Peyton and Kai each had ER trips. Since they both were running high fevers at the time, they were placed in the COVID-19 tent. I could not go with either of them -which was challenging. My daughter called me in tears from the tent.  It was a frightening experience, but, thankfully, neither of them were diagnosed with coronavirus.
My three other children seemed to adapt pretty well with their online academics and Zoom classroom calls.  It was harder to let go of the school activities.  My daughter, Lydia, is a Lake Highlands Wrangler, Levi enjoys the track team at LHJH, and Silas is a part of the backstage crew for the Drama Club at Wallace Elementary.
 
What inspired your drawing?
I wanted to capture a moment in time. Peyton and Kai live in a tiny efficiency apt. that is connected to our house. Shelter in place for Dallas was coming soon,  but I had completely failed to stock up on supplies. I am working towards a Masters in Art Therapy and have been taking online courses. Consumed with some deadlines, I completely had a mom failure moment. I had just gone to several stores for supplies and had come to the realization that the shelves were empty.  Peyton and I decided to organize her pantry- normally this would be a light-hearted task, but we were both somber and silent. At one point, Peyton voiced her fears and concern for her baby’s future. I looked and saw her panicked face. Kai had already fought so hard as a preemie baby, born three months early. She started getting overwhelmed with worry that she wasn’t going to be able to protect him. We were able to talk through it.  We, as mothers, don’t always have the exact answers. It is okay to feel anxious and fearful- that is what makes us real. But, we do lean on our faith.  God is bigger than us and Coronavirus. In this drawing, I was trying to capture a moment in a mother’s life- where she must courageously protect her child, even though the world seems so unknown and frightening.
 
What do you want readers to know about being a mother in the current pandemic?
As a mom during a pandemic, it is okay to voice our concerns with our children.  Everyone is dealing with the stresses of the pandemic- not every person copes in the same way, so we  need to be mindful and patient when others irritate us. Slowing down has given me the opportunity to focus on gratitude.  Little moments within an ordinary day might have been overlooked as insignificant, but, now, the littlest things can capture my heart. Also, during our busy lives, being a good mom meant showing up for every performance, game, event, banquet, etc, and, although these things are important, I have discovered a way to connect individually with each of my four children.  I have played basketball, learned Tik Tok dances, learned about coin collecting, and have even binge watched various series on Netflix.  Focussing on mental well being is most important for a mom during this pandemic.  In our busy, social environments, it is easy to put on “smile” like we have it all together.  In times like these, we need to be genuine and honest, so we can find ways to strengthen ourselves and our families.
 
How is your grandson doing?
My grandson, Kai, is 1 1/2 years old, and he is happy as can be.  He loves having all of his people at home- he wanders around the house and finds a new person in just about every room.  He is also learning how to manage Zoom calls. Because he is a preemie, he has regular meetings with a developmental therapist.