I’ve written about our yearly adventure to find a Christmas tree each year1. It’s one of our favorite Christmas traditions, one of the few traditional Christmas activities we can enjoy just like everyone else. In many ways, Christmas is a season that seems particularly designed to hurt parents of kids with special needs.
We don’t live in a world with happy Santa visits or excited Christmas mornings opening presents…we live in a world of sensory overload and anxiety. We live in a world where Santa is the most amazing thing EVER but going to see him is terrifying. The crush of people at the mall, the loud music, the long lines and the bells…OMFG the bells!!! Will they not stop ringing the damn bells for 30 frickin’ seconds???? Ahhhhh!!!
Christmas morning is not much better…the excitement of unwrapping a gift plus the anxiety over the fact that he doesn’t know what is in there?! Will it make noise? Will it light up? Is it a pair of damn socks? It all builds up and leads to an overloaded, crying, snot-shmearing Monkey. Not fun.
Over the years we have gotten better at managing these issues. We don’t go see Santa. We watch him on TV instead and write him a letter. We don’t “make” Monkey open gifts. If he opens one every hour for days, that is OK. Whatever makes him happy is what makes us all happiest. But…finding ways to work around these issues and make it better doesn’t make it hurt any less. It hurts that we don’t get to see a happy excited Monkey sitting on Santa’s lap or happily opening gifts with the rest of the grandkids.
Hunting for a Christmas tree though…that’s always fun. We can do that! We’re outside, we can run and yell and scream with joy. We KNOW what will happen next! We will walk in the fields, we will cut down a tree, we will carry it to the truck, we will bring it home and Money will make it shine. Every year, just the same. Every year, it’s just as fun.
This year we bumped into a reporter from the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, he was so amused by Caleb’s obvious joy that he included us in his article, Tree Shopping.
No, there’s no mention of fragile x syndrome in that article because this is the one day, every year, when we can most easily pretend we’re just like everyone else…because we are. We’re just a family out looking for the perfect tree to bring us all joy.
And we always find it.
- You will see them linked below. [↩]