Posts tagged ‘family’
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.
It is amazing how your circle of friends change when you have kids. You find yourself bonding with people you might never have known if it weren’t for your kids’ connection to them. Having a child who is “special” has brought me all kinds of friends I might have never met otherwise. Friends who have become integral parts of our lives simply because of our shared experiences, even if they aren’t the same experiences. These are the kinds of friends you don’t have to explain anything to if your child has a 2 hour temper tantrum at their house or can’t eat anything in their kitchen because he’s allergic to everything. These are the best kinds of friends, even if the only thing you have in common is your kids.
For a long time I completely surrounded myself with these friends in a protective cocoon. I couldn’t be around people whose kids were developing “typically” because their lives were so different than ours, and it hurt. We were so worried about our child and had no idea what was happening with him. It seemed like the whole world of parents I used to know took everything their child did for granted while we were teaching C how to swallow food. Not true, I know, but it felt that way.
Even though I have made it back to the world where one has friends simply for friendship’s sake, those somehow connected to the world of special needs remain the best. There’s just something about being around people who have an understanding of what is happening in your family that is both empowering and relaxing at the same time. Autism can at times make for strange bedfellows, but I’m thankful it has brought us some dear friends.
We have different days at our house. Today was a Dennis (a.k.a. “The Menace”) day. It’s a day when I count the hours until C’s bedtime hoping we can all survive relatively unscathed. C is wound up, sassy, hyper and completely “wiggy.” My Nana would have said he had the devil in him today. I never know what triggers these days, and fortunately they come fewer and farther between as of late. We have various solutions to Dennis days; at the moment C is in a shower, happily contained, putting sticky letters on the shower walls and hopefully being soothed by the warm water. Nevermind we live in the desert where water is scarce. Some days our environmentalism simply goes down the drain, no pun intended.
There’s also my favorite type of day, the “Calvin” day. An enormous fan of the now defunct comic strip “Calvin and Hobbes,” I have long adored the trademark triangle smile of Calvin that truly does appear in my C. I think Calvin was somewhat reincarnated when I gave birth. On these days, C is mischievous and adorable, doing such things that make me laugh even though I probably shouldn’t.
Last is a Rainman day. Punctuated by questions such as, “Mommy, what is negative 200 minus negative 200?” (Um, I dunno…???), Rainman days are by far the most interesting. I catch surprising glimpses of how his brain works and things he’s learned I had no idea he knew. Lists of planets, great big fancy words such as “cartographer” or “communication,” and other random assortments of facts and figures leave me wondering if he really is a species of sponge.
Hi, my name is Darcy and I love Dr. Phil….I admit it, and I know that will create a certain impression of me in your mind, but I promise you it’s not the right one!
I’ve heard Dr. Phil tell people with diseases not to let their disease/problem define them. I say how can’t it define them? I know my child with high functioning autism is who he is because of his disease. It’s everything we love about him and everything we struggle with about him. Perhaps there will come a day when most of my thoughts about our son won’t have something to do with autism, but at the moment, it’s most of my life. C doesn’t have high-functioning autism – our whole family does.