I was wrapping presents last night when I came across one designed for children 3-5 years old that I had purchased for my eight-year-old. It got me thinking about how we do things a little differently around here.
Throughout the years, we’ve found that not every holiday event is one we should attempt. Occasionally we get a sitter for the outings that we know Wilson cannot tolerate so his sister still has the chance to go. Sometimes we leave early, or we arrive late. And sometimes we buy toys designed for toddlers because we know how happy they will make him.
This year, we were all able to go on a holiday train ride to see the city lights. We even saw Santa and Mrs. Claus, and Wilson did amazing. He loved every minute of the ride (beyond the wait to board the train.) This was huge progress for him, and something we wouldn’t have attempted just a few years ago.
I don’t share this for any kind of “I’m sorry” or what not. The fact is that we don’t lack any JOY around the holidays while doing things a little differently. I wish everyone could FEEL this season the way that Wilson does. I am overjoyed to be wrapping these items that I know will bring my boy such happiness, all while knowing that they may also lead to some overwhelm or sensory overload, too. I can appreciate a time not that long ago when we were at much more of a loss as to what to get for him. He’s never asked for much of anything.
Doing things differently was harder in the beginning. Birthday parties, trips, holidays. Now we appreciate the joy and balance we find in the way we do these things our own way.
So, this little note is here as a reminder for those in the beginning, the ones struggling with wrapping their heads around “different”, the ones stumbling and getting back up. It gets better.
Or maybe you have friends or family with kiddos like Wilson, who are navigating things like autism, sensory processing disorder, developmental disabilities, or anxiety.
During these times, your grace and patience is extra meaningful and so appreciated.
Be easy on you, and where you are in this. And remember, it always gets better.
Wishing you so much JOY this holiday season.