Anyone besides me end up saying “Whew- that’s as much celebration as I can stand”?
I’ve been trying to figure out how to start this post since Thursday afternoon. But this Saturday morning all is quiet in the house, no-one needs me yet, so I’ll see if my thoughts can get from my heart and onto this page.
Thanksgiving and the Holiday season can be a stressful time. Even for easy to feed, easy to talk to kids; the intensity of family and movement and unscheduled changes of pace can get a bit much. For kids (and Adults) on the Spectrum- well, the safe routine of life is utterly gone, to put it mildly. Even when they are old enough to know what is going on, and actually look forward to it, and when I know what to drop from my list of expectations, and actually only cook half of the parts of a traditional meal; the simple movements through the “special” day can feel like chaos to them.
This particular year was exceptional – in how little all my wonderful ASD family could handle the stress. Probably because it started way back with our emergency run to San Fransisco, then Halloween, (and 504 meetings, and Neurologists) and barely recovering house and schoolwork before flying up to Utah for my nieces wedding, that was last weekend, and I had to jump straight into holiday prep even before the laundry from the trip was done.
Now don’t get me wrong– every single one of these things was very good!!! They were totally awesome adventures in themselves (except getting 5, tired, Autistic people and the rest of us through an airport on a Sunday afternoon deserves a whole story to itself) but adding them together got to everyone, even me. I found that I have spent the last day and a half snappy, short with everyone, and even angry at times– and I hate that feeling– it’s not how my heart is meant to survive, and the kids don’t deserve it. So I have called upon the priesthood, spent a lot of time last night and this morning re-reading some of my journal and old blog posts, and prayed… and decided I needed to share some tiny moments of good–
(whoops- break for feeding family breakfast- 🙂 back now)
California was Awesome– a nearly empty beach is someplace every ASD person (and the Moms!) should get to spend time with.
Some of my favorite moments of Halloween– Watching my two girls wheel around our neighbor’s little disabled 5 yr old in her wheelchair to our street’s houses trick or treating, and being my younger son’s best friend while he took his turn in the neighborhood.
At my sister’s house, it made my heart very very happy to see the big boys (mine and hers) having a grand time playing “Magic” cards together for hours and hours. My boys need that friendship and connection – they needed to remember that no matter what their struggles, there are friends and family, who are there for them- always.
(Oh, and taking my little ones on a plane was totally fun– I even got a kick out of watching people look at my line of teen and pre-teen goslings following me around 🙂 )
Well- here is where I needed to read a lot of gratitude thoughts in my last few blogs, and I’m glad I wrote them down, the stress is messing with my memory badly– I highly suggest a “good-things” journal or at least a place to keep a list. All of these things are just what I needed to remember- but I think I will mention my littlest getting all the way to the last round of the whole-school spelling bee. She is my little mirror and soul-sister, and I am very grateful that the Lord sent me such a gift.
O.K. now we come to the Thanksgiving weekend.
Well- I woke up nicely at 4 and baked pies, then got the turkey in the oven and started bread dough. It was good. Then I had my men help me get set up outside for a picnic. We did this last year, and it was awesome! Eating our feast in the open air like the original Pilgrims brought us closer to them. This year started out just as well, tho I think the heat (81) eventually did us in on top of all the stress. But before it did, I had a moment of revelation…..
We sat down and I asked them what they knew of the Pilgrims, and reminded them that they did, in fact, have an ancestor from the pilgrims’ original company. But then I also reminded them that their first feast was not a celebration of a wonderful year. Not even a half-way good year. It had been a very hard, horrible year, with moments of greatness and courage; and they were celebrating the success of their endurance. And that we, today, remember them for planting the seeds of our country by keeping going thru the bad, and coming without quitting, out the other side of their trials to greatness …
And then I likened this to our family. I said that this has been a hard, hard year for us too… full of new doctors, a new school for everyone, and all the other things we have had on our plate– but I reminded them that through it all, I was so proud of them for staying friends with each other, for keeping going when I ask, and that by never giving up– we too will have our own victories.
This was the last moment of peace for a while– by the end of “enjoying” lots of food and each other’s company and silliness, I had several sweethearts curled into tight balls in various rooms, and the table and chairs are still outside. But as I sit and write this reflection, it is powerfully re-witnessed to me that I was on the right track. Ours is not the easy path… mine, and those like me, is the path of the furnace, the path to glory… and we will win by hanging on to the Lord’s hand with every fiber of our being, staying friends with each other no matter how often we have to forgive, and by never, ever, ever, giving up.