Posts tagged ‘Christmas’

Holding Pattern

My goal at this point is to kind of just get through the holidays. Before C was born, I was all about the holidays. Starting with a pumpkin carving party for Halloween-to a massive feast on Thanksgiving-to decorating everything that moved for Christmas, I lived for October 1 to January 1. But this year, I’m just not in the mood. I am not in a bad mood, but I have realized that I would rather just “be” than pretend as though things are normal when they are most definitely not.

Like so much with C, things slowly started to change after his birth, and our holidays changed just like everything else. C was terrified of Halloween. Literally terrified. Pumpkin faces and costumes freaked him out, even the happy ones. In later years, he enjoyed trick or treating (even though he didn’t like candy) just to bang on people’s doors and get something from them. But slowly over time, my Halloween decorations were put away, and eventually just given away.

Thanksgiving was even more of a non-event with C because he simply didn’t eat. I have talked about his sensory issues with food many a time here, and they really impacted family gatherings. It took years for him to be able to eat around other people, and he still struggles with it to this day. His feeding therapist always told us eating was the second most difficult thing for the human body to do next to sex. Eating involves so many sensations that are overpowering for sensory challenged kiddos. True that, we have found.

Christmas? It was a bit better, especially given C firmly believed in Santa until well into middle school, which I loved. Yet he was all about the material gifts, which I didn’t love so much. When a kid starts saying, “Just give me cash, it’s easier,” it sort of takes the meaning and fun out of it. He enjoyed the spirit of giving at first, but even that faded over time.

Still, preserving traditions was very important to me, and I kind of mourned the lack of them in our home. I grew up with very entrenched holiday traditions, and I envisioned my own family being that way as well. Like so many other things, that has not happened for us, despite early efforts to make it so. I eventually kind of gave up, and felt somewhat resentful for it.

This year? I am oddly grateful for a newfound awareness. With C away and everything feeling so strange, I have realized it is not about the pumpkins, the feast, or the tree. I am not opposed to those things, but they just don’t mean as much to me anymore. I was caught up – not in the stuff as much as in doing the stuff. Right now? I’m pretty content with my 24/7 Christmas carols and reveling in the recent snow. Watching the birds at the feeder, smelling the scented pine cones I picked up at the store, and peppermint hot chocolate are filling my soul more than enough this year.

December 2, 2018 at 6:00 pm 2 comments

He knows if you’ve been bad or good

     It’s about that time of year. I’ve been listening to Christmas carols for a couple of weeks now, which is far better than my usual late September starting date (with apologies to my college roommate, who teases me about it to this day), and C’s Christmas list is long and wide and full of things there’s no chance anyone will get him.

     C has been asking for a couple of months now if he should check his name on to see how good he’s been. But he hasn’t done it, and last night I found out why. While he soaked in the tub, we talked about our plans for the holidays. “I’ll bet Santa won’t bring me much this year because of my behavior,” he said, his head hung dejectedly.

     My heart broke more than a little bit in that moment. I couldn’t lie and tell him his behavior has been fine. It’s been a challenging year for sure: C’s behavior has rocked our family to its core, and I’ve read more books on defiant children than any parent should even know exists. I’ve collapsed on the floor in sobs too many times to count. And Husband and I have locked ourselves in our bedroom far too frequently in order to escape the wrath of C. Still, there’s nothing more heart wrenching than a child whose self-defeat is written all over his face, and all I could do was give him a big kiss on the forehead and tell him that Santa knows he’s been trying his best.

     Once again I was thrown into both the joys and sorrows of parenting this particular child. In the same moment, I was both impressed C recognizes his own challenges and sad that he feels his challenges are having such a profound effect on his life. It’s times like these when I remember that C carries the weight of the world on his shoulders, and there’s little I can do to help him shoulder the load.

November 8, 2011 at 8:16 pm 8 comments

Yes, Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus

     I live for Christmas. I love all of it – the music, the decorations, the weather (I miss snow with every fiber of my being), and seeing family. I think I’m like the Whos down in Who-Ville who would enjoy celebrating Christmas even if there wasn’t a single gift to open. This year, after an admittedly tough spring and summer, I look forward to spending Christmas with those I love even more than usual.

     C is definitely infected with the same Christmas bug. He gleefully sings Christmas carols and plans out gifts he wants to give people (I came home the other night to the treat of three treasures from his room wrapped up for me). C absolutely understands that giving is as every bit as good as receiving, and he cheerfully donates toys he no longer uses and wonders who will get them.

     It was only a couple of years ago that C began to understand presents, stockings, and Santa Claus. He fully believes in Santa, which I suspect will come to an untimely and painful end when some other kid fills C in far before he’s ready to hear it. Yet I’m ready for that, armed with my talk about the spirit of Santa Claus and having faith in things you just can’t see. After all, at 40 years old, I’m still a believer myself.

    This year, there’s going to be something very special under the Christmas tree just for C, and most definitely from Santa. Imagine my surprise yesterday when Husband discovered an envelope on the front walkway with a simple handwritten note inside. “Dear Darcy and Husband,” it said, “it looks like I’m going to be pretty busy this year, so please use this card and make sure to get ‘you know who’ something special. With love, Santa Claus.” Enclosed? A Target gift card for $150. No joke, and absolutely NO idea who left it.     

     So Merry Christmas C, and much love and thanks to C’s unknown secret Santa. You’ve kept the spirit of Christmas alive, and someday, when C begins to question Santa’s very existence, I can’t wait to share with him this story.

November 30, 2009 at 5:49 am 6 comments

Christmas is only about 350 days away

     Christmas is finally over at our house. If it sounds a bit like I’m complaining, I suppose I am. It’s definitely my favorite holiday; I’m the one starting the Christmas carols earlier and earlier each year (this year it was November 1), eagerly anticipating the visits from far-flung family, and anxiously awaiting the bringing down from the attic the Christmas boxes full of ornaments and wreaths.

     C is overwhelmed with Christmas every year – everything is just too much, and he is rendered incapable of doing anything simply because there is so much to do. The noise, activity and excitement of the season become almost too much to bear. Yes, he knows the true meaning of Christmas, but let’s face it, he’s 7, and he’s all about Santa and presents. This year, circumstances dictated our having three separate Christmas celebrations, which allowed for smaller bits of joy to be spread throughout several weeks. We celebrated first with Husband’s family from Tennessee before Christmas, next on Christmas day (trying to explain why Santa didn’t come on Christmas Eve seemed too daunting a task to attempt), and last with my family from Maine on New Year’s Day. Despite drastically limiting the number of gifts coming from each separate family faction, C was left with an abundance almost disturbing in its…well, sheer abundance.

     While I am always thankful for our blessings (that have nothing to do with money), and while we always give back in many ways, I find myself bothered by the Santa and presents side of Christmas this year more than usual. C certainly did better in terms of his level of being able to just enjoy and not being overwhelmed into a stupor, and for that I am grateful. C also thoroughly enjoys giving, a lesson difficult to teach, but one that he has somehow learned. Yet he seems to have been left this year with the message that Christmas comes along more times than should be allowed for any one child. We can only hope, in the coming year, that the unintended lesson of this year will fade into one of many lovely Christmas memories that I hope he adds to throughout his life.

January 4, 2009 at 10:02 pm 5 comments

It’s all autism, all the time.

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