Today’s Challenge is one of my own. I have to admit I love the Christmas season. Not the season that starts the day before Halloween, but the true Christmas season that begins at noon on Thanksgiving day when Santa appears in the Macy’s Day Parade until the evening of Christmas Day when we sit around with our families and just connect.
Then I had children.
My Challenge: The Holidays
My challenge is not just the Elf. Though I hate that freaking Elf.
It’s not even the commercialization of Christmas. I get that since long ago I was a very young child Christmas was about what Santa left under the tree than what the holiday was intended. As a parent I have fallen into that trap of making sure the tree and stockings are full.
Seeing the awe in Abby’s eyes the first year she walked down the stairs and saw the tree. How she gets so excited and even now will take out the Toy catalog and circle things she is too old for but in her young heart wants anyway. Her excitement over seeing Santa (fingers crossed I have one more year) and her belief in all that magic.
That Bridget doesn’t have.
On one hand it is easier. MUCH easier that Bridget doesn’t get it. The challenge lays in the family and friends expectations.
My girls are tremendously lucky. Their friends and relatives are beyond generous when it comes to gift giving. They are given thoughtful gifts, fun gifts, gifts of crap (yes, that I regift) and they are well loved.
The past two years with Bridget I have explained that she doesn’t play with things a typical child will play. I have requested instead that they purchase (or contribute to) therapy gifts she needs to make her life easier. Showing their love for Bridget every year they assist her needs. They have also given her gifts, that may not have been appropriate, but showed how much they love and want her receive gifts like all children her age. Some her developmental and some her chronological.
Quite frankly, gifts have always freaked her out. I once got her an Elsa doll that she loved.
In the box.
The minute we took it out of the box she freaked out and hasn’t touched the doll since.
The great news is that she does not need any therapy equipment and Bridget is more aware. She is more vocal. She is now, with modeling, holding a doll before putting it on the floor and walking away. She is obsessed with ‘Punzel, Elsa and Fia. Awesome, yes?
Except I know, I just know, how hard it will be for our families not to buy out the Disney aisle. That if they do they will be wasting their money because Bridget will not and is not able to play with what they will give her. That even I have to check myself from purchasing.
It took Bridget’s terror (yes, terror) of receiving gifts for us to celebrate the real gift of the Season. That she is here and healthy. That this child wants nor needs anything other than a comfortable lap to sit upon. It’s wonderful, really, that with Bridget we get to enjoy the true meaning of Christmas.
Yet it hurts, in a weird way, that Bridget won’t be able to torture me with the Elf. (Although after last week’s bus stop drama I’m okay with it.) That she is afraid of Santa (not in the good way). That she doesn’t get the magic or anticipation of circling toys in a catalog.
My challenge this year is using Bridget to remember what the Holiday season is about and stop comparing her to remember isn’t.
What’s your challenge is a series that was inspired by a program I created at Abby’s school. I am amazed at how honest and hopeful the challenges have been. Thank you to all who have contributed. To submit your challenge, please e-mail me at email@example.com
Wonderful challenge and I admit that I do fall prey to the commercialism of it all myself and do need to remember or recall the real reason behind of this. So hugs and thank you for the reminder, too.
I don’t remember what the year was when Christmas for/with Marcus became what I imagined it *should* be. It took longer than I wanted for my own self, that I do confess. But now, well, I had forgotten until reading this post that that was ever the case. So, hmmm. Did I change or did he? Of course we know it is both and it has been said in my family that Marcus is what keeps Christmas magical for us.
Thanks for sharing this.
That is tough. And I know the family must be aching to buy her something, without understanding that she may not enjoy/play with it. It comes from a place of love, but not necessarily understanding.
I do love the years right now. Des doesn’t get it yet. Scarlet gets it very much. I hate to see her lose her beliefs.. I know it will happen.
Oh, I so get this! I remember crying my eye out one Christmas because Bear ignore everything – everything, except baby Santas (Baby Einstein), But now he’s a Christmas Maniac and even opens his presents! Although he often throws them aside after he opens them (especially clothes). But he still doesn’t get the Elf – at all.
While Bridget doesn’t understand, you do, and you mourn for what she is missing. I get it, as much as I can. And can I tell you how glad I am that we don’t deal with that elf? CREEPY.
Oh my, thank you, Dana for getting it. That selfishly this is more about me than Bridget. I have to figure out a way to better deal with it and make it more about her, as it should be.
On the Elf note just be thankful that your children are too old for Mensch on the Bench. I swear it is a real thing that my friend’s daughter just asked for!
A truly wonderful post. Sweet and bittersweet. Thank you for sharing what many of us experience.
Thank you. I know so many of us with unique children go through this torture! Know that you are not alone.
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