Christmas in my birth home was always a magical, inspiring and faith-filled time of year. There was the kids Christmas choir production that I was always a part of. We’d dress up and play out the manger scene for the whole church, singing sweetly like young kids do. We sang to get the goodie bag afterwards!
Extended family would also get together at Christmas and a bajillion cousins would play together and stay up late into the night, bedtimes forgotten, amidst the laughter of the adults visiting. Cookies and punch would sustain us and no one had to eat a single vegetable if they didn’t want to.
I remember one year, my Dad made an ice rink in our backyard and everyone brought their ice skates and skated all night with only outdoor patio lights.
I would listen to Christmas music that hadn’t been heard since last year and sit expectantly underneath the tree, looking at all the decorations and lights. Magic!
Sometimes, we would even go to someone else’s house for Christmas and go out of town. We’d sleep on the floor in sleeping bags and it would be so exciting!
When I became a Mom, I couldn’t wait to share my memories with my kids and experience those same precious moments together.
But then, my kiddos hate lights. They can’t tolerate noise or music for long. They don’t like busyness and crowds. They get confused in social situations and have behavior problems. Sweets are not usually a good idea while coping with so much sensory information. Staying up late is a no-no and usually ends in a meltdown because of inflexibility and confusion with changing “the plan”. The Christmas Choir has spotlights and microphones with amplified sound so that’s out….travel is really tough and requires weeks of planning and strategizing. They need their own rooms and beds with their own “space” etc. The list goes on…
I write all this to say, that as SPD parents, we must have grace with ourselves. Christmas can be a time of real grief and isolation. To this day, we still have family members unable to understand why we must not like them that much that we won’t come out to so many fun things. When, in actual reality, our hearts break again and again for the things we have lost and sacrifice daily. Christmas amplifies all of these feelings. Lack of understanding from family and friends can send us into a tailspin of emotions.
I have written a blog post called “When Family Doesn’t Get it”. It’s filled with great strategies for helping set boundaries and strategizing, especially at this time of year.
I have come to a place where I can be honest. I hate Christmas. I put my nose down and I get through it, but…barely. If I didn’t have my faith in God, I don’t know how I’d do it.
If you’ve ever felt the grief of Christmas, I want to tell you, it’s ok to grieve what you’ve lost. If you’ve read this today, know I have prayed for you in advance, to have JOY despite your current circumstance. Because we know the grief and the loss too. Blessings this Christmas Season…