Christmas morning. To experience the day through a child’s eyes is an amazing thing. The beauty of the early morning while it’s still dark outside and the only lights in the house are the lights from the Christmas tree. The house so quiet until you hear the thunder of feet and squeals from kids who can’t sleep anymore. What will Santa bring this year? And what about Jesus that was born on Christmas so many years ago. Jack has celebrated 16 Christmases. We are at the point where our morning starts much later now that our kids are teenagers. As I look back on the different Christmases we have had there a few that really stick out.
Most Christmases we’ve had to prep Jack beforehand on what to do if certain situations happen especially if he receives a present he is not thrilled with. It’s hard to show gratefulness when you receive something you didn’t ask for. For a kid on the spectrum you never know what might happen. We’ve had tears, storming out of the room, not so quiet comments made under his breath or saying ‘thanks’ through clenched teeth. When he gets a present he loves, the whole world knows.
Here’s some Christmas we’ve had that are the most memorable for me:
Dollar store Christmas – Jack was 4 and we had no money. We could only buy presents from the dollar store. We carefully picked out presents for the kids. Jack got a pack of dinosaur figurines and a whoopee cushion. That whoopee cushion was a hit! The kids had so much fun taking turns on it. Jack’s giggles were contagious and he lit up each time someone sat on it and reacted to the funny noise it would give out. The whoopee cushion lasted all day believe or not until one side busted out leaving a gooey, wet mess from all the saliva those kids blew in it over the day. This was one of my most favorite Christmases. It was so simple, humbling because of our financial situation and the kid’s giggles were music to our ears.
The Bike – Jack was 10 and the present list he gave was for everything too expensive; including an xBOX. Really? After he handed over his list to the grandparents, I told them he could really use a new bike as he was growing like a weed. I saw a great black Friday deal and picked it up for them. Grandma hid it well for Christmas morning and when it came time for him to find it….it was not a pretty sight. He sulked in the corner and didn’t want to participate the rest of the evening and couldn’t articulate why he was so upset. And to top it off, we live in Michigan so what is it doing in December….snowing! Who can use a bike in December? This was a mom fail on my part. I need to stop being so practical with gifts. I forget that a kid wants to have fun and doesn’t want a practical gift; especially from their grandparent!
Christmas 2019 – I didn’t get a Christmas wish list from Jack so I got him the usual: clothes, underwear, the wrong xBOX game and a lego set. He wasn’t exactly thrilled by his gifts. He kept mentioning under his breath, “I need to give a detailed list next year.” Fast forward to Christmas night at grandma’s house. Jack’s grandpa passed away earlier this year from a motorcycle accident. Jack loved him dearly and he was his best friend. Nothing can prepare you for the memories and pain that come flooding back when you are missing someone. Nothing but good memories of dad but the traditions you did at the holidays made it very aware that he wasn’t there to share them with. He would always read from Luke on Christmas just before we opened presents. He would wear a large Santa hat while handing out presents and he would carefully make sure each person would get a present from the youngest to oldest and then start all over again until they were all gone. Each time making sure we watched each other open their presents. This year, we had to make some new traditions without dad there. Jeff got the honor of reading from Luke in his dad’s bible. Everyone got Santa hats this year and we all took turns handing presents out to each other. Each grand kid got a special blanket made with dad’s Harley Davidson shirts. He had a lot of them! So each quilt was unique and colorful. Very emotional to see each of the kids receive them and look at all the places he had been. And then, my mother-in-law hands a gift to Jack with a note that reads, “This was grandpa’s watch and I know he would want you to have it.” He was speechless. Jack proudly wears it every day.
I pray your Christmas was a beautiful time with family and friends. That new memories were made, traditions celebrated and peace known from a little baby born to save the world.