Here we are. Once again the holiday season is upon us.
Just last night I was facebook chatting with my cousin. (Join me on facebook, search my name) I told her that I've been a bit emotional and sensitive lately. She asked me if I was feeling that was because of the holidays.
There have been a lot of deaths of family and friends in the last few months, so I have been feeling sad. I explained what holidays are like with David.
Today there is no viewing of the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. He's not interested. That isn't to say that I will not try again this year. There is no viewing of March of the Wooden Soldiers, although I'm not sure if that movie is even shown anymore. There will be the wrangling of David at Thanksgiving dinner at our cousin's home. We have to make sure that David doesn't put anything inappropriate into his mouth, or try to climb into the oven, or pull items off a table. I am hopeful this year that those things don't happen. I am hopeful that he will sit and play with the toys that I purchased at Target the other day. Maybe he will show some interest in his niece and cousins who are his age. Maybe Mommy can enjoy a cocktail and eat Thanksgiving dinner in a seated position.
Last year, we did not spend Thanksgiving together. Mommy stayed home scrubbing poo. Today I am on high alert for poo. David is wearing a pair of shorts that are belted-tightly!
There are no visits to Santa. No excitement on Christmas morning. David just isn't interested. He does enjoy Christmas music and last year he did not destroy the tree. Last year he did show a curiosity about Santa, as in wanting to see what was under the beard and the red suit.
This is our normal. The new normal. Holidays in the house that Autism created. Our holiday traditions are based on David's mood and behavior on that given day. The holidays are like a bowl of cherries- we never know what we're gonna get.
I keep trying. This morning, during breakfast, I explained what Thanksgiving is- the version that is taught to school children and the version that was taught to me by my native-american grandfather. I explained to David that we are going to the home of his cousins and that we would share a meal with his family- LOTS of family and that it is ok to be with them and it's ok to feel anxious. His Mommy, Daddy, Sister, and Niece would me there too and we're all going to have a good time (fingers crossed).
David's school has been preparing the children for Thanksgiving. I have to give a shout out to Trinity School in Westfield, NJ. They made personalized Thanksgiving cards for the children at David's school and they are wonderful. David normally destroys cards, but we looked at his cards together and he was very gentle with them. He must realize that the cards belong to him because he saw his name. I will have David help me use the cards to decorate with later.
I don't give up. I continue to teach David about the holidays and what they mean. I continue to teach David how we and he should participate in each holiday.
My husband and I attended an Autism workshop two months ago. There was a representative from St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Harrington Park, NJ They offer a special service twice a month for families with children on the spectrum. We attended the service with was non-denominational and thirty minutes long. There is a lot of movement and music and no one cares if your child is very vocal during the entire service. So David gets to attend church, learn a little something, and we don't have to worry about being asked to leave.
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!