Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Thing About Christmas

It's supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year.  Right?

But it seems like a lot of work and worry for something that's supposed to be fun.

As a little girl, I loved this time of year: putting up the Christmas tree, baking cookies, singing Christmas carols, walking down the neighborhood streets admiring the glow of lights.  Going to see the tree at Rockefeller Center.  Walking by store front window's fascinated by the decorations. 

I didn't even mind going to Church - especially midnight mass on Christmas Eve.  And even though I'm a faux Catholic now, I would love to be able to take The Boy to midnight mass.

(The Boy isn't quite ready for church.  So I know I couldn't handle it solo and The Husband will not go with me.)  

The Boy is at an age where the magic of Christmas should begin.

The Boy isn't really interested in singing. 

Or the Tree at Rock Center.

Or store front windows.

Somehow, autism and magic and Christmas don't really add up.

The other day someone asked me if The Boy was excited about Christmas.  I shook my head, "Not really."

Even  though The Boy knows what Santa looks like; he likes loves getting presents and watches Charlie Brown Christmas almost every night - The Boy does not understand the concept of Christmas.  (Forget about trying to explain the whole Jesus aspect.) 

Now, if you are the parent of "typical" child, you may say to yourself, "That's all kids." 


No - it's not all kids.  It's different.  Trust me. 

Because when The Boy sees snow, he thinks it's Christmas.  Remember back in October when it snowed?  The Boy yelled "YAY - it's Christmas time."  

 For the last few months, when we've gone out  to the store and The Boy reaches for something he likes, I'll say, "Christmas is coming.  We'll ask Santa."  I've been trying to explain the "Dear Santa" letter.   The original plan was to have The Boy write to Santa and ask for the presents we've already purchased so that he makes the connection.  

But now I'm wondering if I should even bother with explaining Santa at all? 


I mean, technically, Santa only brings gifts to boys and girls who have been good all year long.

The Boy is a literal thinker with a razor sharp memory.  What if he recalls every single time he did not listen?  The Boy (for the most part) knows the different between good and bad.   

So if I press this whole Santa Claus thing year after year - he'll eventually get it.  And he's getting close to getting it.  (I think) I mean look at the picture ---->

Doesn't The Boy look surprised?  After "Santa's" appearance, I believe that's when The Boy ran to the Christmas tree and opened a gift.  (And yes, that's an oil painting of RuPaul in the background.) 

And by the time The Boy really really gets Santa and this whole Christmas business - it will be around the same time, we'll have to tell him "There's no such thing as Santa Claus."     

And bursting that bubble will need to happen. 
I know, I know - it doesn't really need to happen.  But, do I want a 12, 13, 14 year old kid asking Santa for the impossible - things that I cannot possibly afford or deliver?  Not really.

I don't know.  I guess I'll have to take Christmas one year at a time.  And this Christmas will be like last years - with too many presents for The Boy to open.  Much more than what he wants or needs.  Because Christmas means so much more to me, than it does to The Boy.  And in some crazy way, I feel like I have to overcompensate for that.


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AutismWonderland - written by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez - is a personal blog chronicling a NYC family's journey with autism, while also sharing local resources for children/families with special needs.