As we enter the holiday season (we enter with a bang! Click over to Instagram to see what we cram into our holiday kick off weekend!), please know we try our best to do it all, to make it fun for everyone, and to make it as normal to us as possible. That being said, it is not your typical normal. Alex guest blogs, “The Holiday Season in an Autism Home”
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Snow is on the ground, my wife is singing about wanting a hippo for Christmas dressed in Santa pug pj’s, and people are just genuinely grumpy because nobody drives correctly and the packers stink. Yup it’s holiday season.
As a parent, holidays bring so much excitement. Family gatherings, church, Santa, presents, good food, friend get-togethers, beer, family photos… It’s really magical. As Nolan’s parents, holidays bring us apprehension too. Family gatherings, church, Santa, food, friend get-togethers, family photos; all things that make us nervous and stressed.
There are questions we have to ask ourselves that many others don’t, like Nolan doesn’t “fit in” but how can we best hide it? What will people think seeing a school age boy not able to talk and drumming and flapping his hands during church? Why doesn’t he care about presents, Christmas lights, or Santa? Nolan is oblivious to all this. You’d think it would be obvious to notice a freaking lit-up 9 foot tree in your living room, right? He lives his life isolated. We don’t get it. But we live it. Whenever I want to complain I think, I have to live with this for maybe half my day, often less. He has to 24/7. Does he know he’s different? Is he mad at me, or worse, himself? How is he not angry about it?
I know our friends and family don’t judge, but the family dynamic is such a focal point this time of year, and comparisons to peers are impossible to ignore. You feel like you are always in the spotlight, and we hate the spotlight. This year, I’m hoping to take a step back and let it be. We will do our best to bring snacks, drinks, and comfort items for him. We also have a new spin on things this year with Stella actually caring about it all, so that should make it pretty interesting.
I’m so lucky to have my family. We are truly blessed. Seeing the families next to our EEG room having to dress for chemo precautions for their kid? That will bring you down to Earth real quick. Our family is unique and if that means we have sneak our early for our sanity, I’m doing it. We don’t need to apologize. Instead, we are taking an approach trying to educate, inform and spread autism awareness the best we can. Doing it that way will hopefully give us the peace and joy the average family feels this holiday season. And who knows, maybe this will be the year he cares? He has surprised us before. We sure as heck are not gonna lose hope.