When I think back to that first Christmas as a mother and reflect on my desire to reclaim my old self, it seems like a wish that is foreign to me now. Nearly a decade in, there's no old self or new self. There's just this self.
My advice to parents of younger children with autism is to just go with it and not try to make a picture perfect holiday. Your family is unique and whatever way you can make it fun and happy for all of you is the right way.
My wife and I live vicariously through the joy seen through the eyes of our children on Christmas morning.That joy was sapped last Christmas because of a villainous invader whose very presence was meant to enhance that Christmas experience, not destroy it.
December has always been a miraculous time. It marks the season in my life when I labored with both my children on the same date, in different years: December 14. But I cannot help but think of a community not so very far from my own. December 14 marks a very different day for them.
There are places where we can share our darkest selves and mundane lives; the holiday card is not one of them. It is a snapshot of the year and a dream catcher on card stock. It isn't perfection -- it's reality and aspiration rolled into one.
Children will be disappointed on Christmas, as they are on many days -- despite the magical man, who delights and fixes and cheers all the children of the world, in whom they believe; despite all the people trying hard to make things different.
The universal tradition of giving during the holidays has exploded into a circus of spending, stress and unfulfilled expectations. Let's take a breath and think about how we can reframe the message we're sending to our children.
Everyone can save glass and plastic jars, boxes, and items such as bottle caps, twisty ties, bubble wrap, take home containers. With a little research and some creativity here are some fun ideas for gifts, crafts, and decorating.
The holiday season should be a happy and joyful time of year, but I know it can also be a time of stress and even depression. The important lessons are that ongoing, open, and honest conversations are essential.
Focus on toys that will teach your children something new, broaden their horizons about who they become and give them the lasting gift of sparking their imagination and teaching them new ways to think about the world.