Bridget works very hard to fit into the traditional world. She spends unlimited time working on speech and articulation. Bridget has worked to overcome her fear of the beach and grass. While she still does not like snow, by the end of last year’s never ending snow season Bridget could go outside. She even touched snow in a bucket.
She drew the line at stepping in the snow.
With Christmas almost upon us I realize that I have stopped sending cards. In fact the last Christmas Card I sent was this one:
This is actually a good picture, there is one where she is screaming trying to get away. I was going to use that for the card but my mom said she would hurt me.
Bridget is terrified of Santa. I know, most kids are at first. Eventually they overcome their fear and give their
grandparents (ahem) mom and dad the standard photo. After this photo was taken, David and I made the decision that there would never again be a photo with Santa. (Abby still gets one every year)
The world that we take for granted is filled with fear and anxiety for Bridget. She doesn’t instinctively know how to handle things that overwhelm her. There are experiences that Bridget has to adjust to having in her life. For example, the beach. Our family is not going to give up something we love (and are surrounded by) to allow Bridget to live her life without sand. Sand is a very real fact of life.
Santa is not real. (Crap, hope I didn’t destroy the Santa myth for you)
Progress has been made. This year, for the first time, Bridget has seen a Santa figurine or picture and called it Santa; without the qualifier: I NO LIKE. Progress.
A family friend who is a wonderful Santa offered to come to the house and just hang out. Let Bridget come to him so we might get a snapshot of Bridget on his lap. He knows how fearful she is and wants to help her. Our local mall hosted a caring Santa event. David and his co-workers host a free Santa’s House where children can come and have a visit with Santa. I know I could have brought Bridget early and the fire-Santa would have let us take her time for the once a year shot. “She might enjoy it” “Maybe this year she will like it” we have heard and rejected. We know that intentions might be from the heart, but not in her best interests.
David and I thought about it, a lot. We really appreciated people wanting to give us that picture with Santa. I struggled with giving Bridget what she needs versus no accepting offers and appearing rude.
We said no thank you to all offers.
Although Bridget may have been able to be successful, we decided it wasn’t worth the risk.
We understand that we could go and see Santa and there might not be panic. Looking at the risk/reward ratio it isn’t worth the chance of inducing fear and panic. How does sitting on a strangers lap enhance her life? This one thing is something Bridget doesn’t have to fight or overcome. A picture of Santa is meaningless. A day at the beach priceless.
Each time she is asked, do you want to go see Santa? She replies: NO. In this we have respected her wishes. Knowing that even if it was successful, it would be putting someone else’s desires (a picture with Santa) over what might be best for our child.
She can live with not sitting on a Santa’s lap.
I can live with not having a picture of her on a Santa’s lap.
Then, unknown to me, Santa visited her classroom and this happened
And after seven years we have a picture with Santa that’s not filled with fear