There we were last weekend getting up all the decorations, the tree and in general getting ready for my favorite time of year, Christmas. It is with mixed feelings that I do this though, as for my son Michael, it is a sometimes stressful, confusing time of year. Autism makes changes in routine and lots of people visiting a challenging thing to deal with for him. He loves and gets the whole Santa and presents thing, and even participates in our Catholic Traditions. As a matter of fact, he loves the manger figures and painstakingly places them in the manger until they are just so. This year he put them in a several huddles like they were having separate conversations at a party! I had to set him straight that we put Baby Jesus in the center and everyone around Him. It went relatively well. Very little power struggle over where things go, unlike other years. There is a maturity about him now which is beautiful to see.
I think the reason is that after almost four years of letting him help in putting up decorations and trees, (yes, he has his own tree in the basement/play room too), I have let go of a lot of my Type A stuff. I have learned to let it go (Please no Frozen singing). That is, I have learned to let go of my preconceptions of what the holidays are supposed to encompass, how we should behave, what should happen.Don’t we all make this mistake particularly with kids with autism? We want everything to unfold perfectly, and we dread when the family members will make the inevitable comment about our youngsters. I’m sure we’ve all been there done that, and want different things this holiday season, right? If you are in agreement, let me know.
4 Things I Now Do To Simplify Christmas Decorating:
1) Breathe and enjoy the moment with your son and husband no matter WHAT happens. (with and without alcohol, preferably without or I won’t feel too good about myself being balanced and all)
2) If they don’t want carols in the background, (husband and son) don’t fight it. Something beautiful like Michael singing carols with me a capella could happen! True story and we sounded pretty darn good if I did say so myself.
3) Let everyone have a say where things go. (I tended to be a bit of a control freak with this in the past, strange but true. 🙂 )
4) Hot chocolate all around when the job was finished. (The Amaretto shots my husband and I used to have after finishing the decorating in the evening were fun prior to having a child, but at two o’clock in the afternoon when we now put up the tree and decorations, something non-alcoholic is preferable and reasonable with a small child around. Though there were times in the last four years… oh, never mind.
Now this non alcoholic drink thing does not pertain to Christmas Eve however. 🙂 But that’s a whole other story Moms! Until next time…:)