Lesson I Learned From Raising A Child With Special Needs: “Make The Holidays Perfect For You”

Lessons I learned from raising a child with special needs "Make the holidays perfect for you" Faithtoraisenate.com Charlenebullard.com Purposedrivencharlene.com
4 min read

I sat lazily on my sofa, snuggled in my blanket, as my television played…. another Christmas movie. It was a binge watching day of those channels that feed on my love of festive holiday movies, that are really not that good, but rather cheesy.

I absolutely love a good holiday story. It’s something about the cold weather scenes, the decorations, and the happy feelings that are displayed through character interactions that makes me happy.

And I know, its mostly the same script. There is the holiday themed story with some type of difficulty or conflict; there’s some working toward a resolution, and then at the end, the family comes together for a wonderful and elegant Christmas gathering. And although I know the framework of these movies, I am still drawn to them, year after year.

Well, in the past, as I watched these same movies, I realized that they had a way of making me feel as if my life was imperfect during the holidays.

Have you every noticed, how every show seems to display this type of “Grand/Perfect” holiday season, where there are scenes with happy family times.  There is the usual, long table that is filled with mouth-watering, delicious entrees from turkey, ham, macaroni and cheese, string beans, and more. The dessert table is like a decadent bakery, filled with pies, cakes, and cookies. And everyone is usually seated at the table dressed in their lavish holiday attire, eating to their heart’s content.

Ohhhhh…. and let us not forget the Christmas decorations that adorn these movies; they are the most beautiful, mirroring images of a “Martha Stewart” magazine.   The Christmas trees are nearly 10 feet tall, towering with elegant ornaments that glisten and glow, dazzling our eyes. And of course, underneath are mounds of presents, too many to count.

Lastly there are the scenes of children opening gift, after gift, after gift, while their parents look on pleased at their children’s surprise reaction for a gift that they really wanted.   The children then run to their parents, embracing them, as they scream, overly excited, “Thank You Mom and Dad”.

It is all great entertainment. And while I am amused and it feels good after watching those shows, I must remember that television and movie holiday programs are not realistic and should NOT be what I aim to achieve.

For me, Thanksgiving and Christmas can be somewhat trying for Nate, which makes it trying for me. As I navigate, going to the homes of family and friends for dinner, there is always the task of having to keep Nate subdued. He can be “Nate” at times; flapping his arms, standing up, walking around, hitting himself, hitting me, spilling food all over the place, and more.

When we are home, it is calmer, but still a lot of work to do with my son. While I am preparing dinner for family, I need to constantly check on him, to make sure he is all right and has what he needs. Then during my hosting duties, I have to stop catering to guest, to make sure that my son’s every waking need is cared for.

Then when it comes to opening gifts, I don’t have that same television style elaborate gift opening scene. Nate does not mentally understand the holidays, or what Christmas or gifts are all about. There is never a grand toy or gift opening with him. He receives gifts, yet the reaction is very calm.

And over the years, I have learned that this is okay. I don’t need to achieve the “Hollywood Holiday Magic.” I just needed to accept that our holidays are what we make it. I must be the one that define the meaning of the holidays; making Christmas “Perfect” for Nate and for me.

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