Saturday, December 24, 2011

Expectations and letting go

  I think every parent has an expectation that Christmas is going to be the way it was in their rosy childhood memories.  As the parent of a child with autism, you need to let go of this.  For years I tried to make the Christmas we were celebrating be like Christmas from my youth, and in the process, I stressed myself to the point of snapping,  I stressed out the kids and no one had a great time.
   So now, I create things that we can do together or not.  We were making cookies today.  My eldest is best at eating them, my middle child at stressing over her youngest brother "messing things up" and the youngest just wants to get through the process.   I make the cookies - they eat them, it works.  Do we have huge decorating sessions?  No - too much pressure.
   We are having a Christmas dinner which is less than traditional: ham, mashed potatoes, corn (because the boys do not like mashed potatoes), french fries - see previous explanation, cranberry bread, green beans but without any sauce or stuff on it so the boys will eat them, salad - just in case the youngest won't eat the beans, apple pie and pecan pie.  No pumpkin because between picky eaters and lactose intolerant  intestines, I would be eating it alone.  No sweet potatoes for much of the same reasons.
   We will open presents and hang out until  we want to eat, then eat, maybe take the dog for a walk, and hang out some more.
   I am taking the younger two to church tonight, so Christmas morning has no "have to's" attached to it.  It is all about  trying to enjoy the time - everyone in their own way.  If this means watching movies - daughter, okay.  If it means knitting - me, fine.  Doing puzzles? great. Sleeping? fine.  Learning to let go of expectations has been the toughest part of living in  an autism family.  Maybe it is the same in any family?  Ultimately, it is about peace - on Earth, towards your fellow man/woman, and more importantly, for us, peace under our own roof.
  Have a Merry Christmas.

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