It's that time of year again where many families are gathering together and enjoying the holidays care free. That was me at one time. At one time I looked forward to the holidays like one should. I was excited to spend the day with family playing cards, eating all day....literally eating all day long. I looked forward to seeing cousins and many of the other family members that I saw such few times of the year. I looked forward to preparing that one dish that everyone might ooh and aah over. I looked forward to cooking with my family members, watching the Thanksgiving Day parade, watching football, and relaxing.
But now, its an entirely different story. I dread the holidays. I do. I would be lying if I said I enjoyed them. I'm not being a "Debbie Downer", its just the way it is. For Pete's sake, I have a house with no furniture because my child with severe autism does nothing but climb on everything in sight, throw items, jumps from this to that, swings from the curtains and blinds, walk on my cabinets, lay on top of my stove, sit in my kitchen sink, and anything else that he can think of. On top of severe autism, we have mild autism which is a far cry from severe but we still have to watch Andrew like crazy as well. He does have autism and has all of the tendencies Trenton has. Needless to say, going anywhere for the holidays are stressful and can't be done. It's one thing to do it to my house but another house is different.
If we go to a holiday gathering I can't relax and talk. I'm the one that is chasing him and pulling him down from top of the counter. I'm the one picking up broken items that he just broke or picking up the pieces to items that he is taking off the wall. I'm the one who says, "sorry" upteenth thousand times for his behavior. Before I know it, he is fussing and having sensory overload that totally messes his system up for the rest of the day. Therefore, we would have to leave within minutes of just arriving and all we did was make a huge disaster in a house, talked to no one, and just added that much more stress to my stress load.
Doesn't sound like fun, right? It's not. Take my word for it.....and I am a person who can manage a lot in life but autism and holidays are NOT fun.
I do hope and pray that one day the holidays will be better. Although, they will never be the "ideal" holiday that you can find on a Hallmark movie.They will never be what they used to be. The "use to be" holidays were holidays before autism....before a life changing disorder entered my world. And as much as I crave to have a relaxing holiday, I can't help but be haunted by the one question. Did I really appreciate the life I had before autism? Ok...maybe two questions. Was I truly thankful for my healthy, good life before autism? Don't get me wrong, I know I was. I have no doubt I was but when your life is forever changed there is a much deeper thankfulness that you learn to have. A much deeper appreciation for things. It is so deep and powerful it is hard to explain other than the fact that you just have to live it to understand and appreciate it.
I hope each and everyone of you have a Happy Thanksgiving!! I truly mean that. Please be thankful for what you have and count your blessings because it can change before you know it!