Finding the holiday spirit

Sometimes life can make getting in the Christmas Spirit difficult.  Whether it’s finances, lost loved ones,  or just the holiday blues, difficult times in your life can make you want to give up on the holidays and move on to the New Year ahead.  But with my two kids around it makes it impossible to not find yourself humming along as they sing Christmas songs or smiling because the Christmas Tree must always be lit.

And the one with the most Christmas Spirit in our house is Mateo.  He loves everything about it! From snowmen to reindeer, Santa and watching EVERY Christmas Special, decorating the tree and singing Christmas carols, he enjoys every moment of it. He insists the tree must always be lit and that Christmas songs be playing often through the day.

On Saturday Mateo had his first gymnastics performance.  His grandparents attended and Mateo was excited to show off his moves for the audience. He followed all of his instructors directions and did a perfect trampoline routine.  He kept up with and even surpassed some of his peers.  And after an hour of performing Mateo patiently waited  in quite a long line to meet Rudolph and even have his photo taken with him.  (Photo to come, it’s on my mom’s camera.) This is after watching his sister practice ballet for an hour before he even started his gymnastics performance.  So once again he amazed me with his flexibility both in gymnastics and to such a drastic change in his schedule.

After two hours of fun at the kid’s gym we went to lunch.  Yep, pushing our luck even further.  But he sat perfectly well behaved for the entire lunch, even though we had the slowest waiter you can imagine.  Slow waiters and kids don’t mix, especially if your kid has Autism.  But he and his sister did a fabulous job.

And guess who was next door to the restaurant? Yep, good old Saint Nick! And he was sitting there with a line of exactly one kid.  Our lucky day!!

Let me flash back to the previous week. We went to the mall on two missions. Mission #1: To buy a gift for a kid’s gift exchange. Mission #2: The kids to get to see Santa and take their photo with him.  Now mind you this is one of the most vacant malls you could ever imagine.  And the line was not very long.  But this had to be the slowest moving line in the history of Santa lines.  So I had decided to take Maya and go pick out the kid’s gift while Reuben and Mateo waited in line.  Looking back, we should have taken Mateo to the store, but he was doing well.  He was just hanging out playing on some little kid rides and even playing nicely with the other kids.  I guess this lasted for about 5 more minutes and then he was done.  When Mateo gets over-stimulated his worst behavior comes out.  He will throw himself to the ground, run away from us, throw things.  It is very difficult to manage, especially if there is only one of you.

My phone rang, and I hear a frustrated husband on the other line, “Can you come back, he’s not standing in line and he’s throwing the fake snow everywhere.” Ugggghhh, I was in line to ring up my items.  “Can you give me just like 3 minutes, I am ringing the stuff up?”  But it took much longer than 3 minutes, cause it’s the holidays.  And a bit later, he called back saying they were waiting in the car.  “He wouldn’t listen, he was pushing other kids,  and throwing himself to the ground.” The line wasn’t moving and I am sure this was frustrating Mateo.

This is what makes it so hard.  What will set him off? We never know, it’s always a gamble. And it’s a gamble we take, and sometimes you have to get stuck in the car with a hysterical kid. And in this case it was Reuben.  But we all have to go with the flow and sometimes you have to pack it up.

Back to the fabulous Santa with no line. So we waited for exactly 2 minutes for the adorable girl in front of us to tell Santa she loves him and get her photo taken with him.  Maya told Santa she wanted roller skates for Christmas, and although Mateo didn’t tell Santa what he wanted, he did sit on his lap and smiled happily with his sister.

And we didn’t push our luck any further.  We headed home for some unwinding time. We missed a party we wanted to go to over 2 1/2 hours away.  But I was afraid, the weather was bad and it could take us a long time to get there and home.  He had already had a really big day, and would be in a house with many people he didn’t know.  Instead of chatting with people we hadn’t seen in a long time, we would be worried about him, chasing him around the crowded house.

Sometimes you have to embrace a perfect day, and not push it.  So when the holidays have you down,  try to enjoy the small moments.  Plug in your tree during the day,   and remember what really matters during these times, spending times with the ones you love so much.  And enjoying them enjoying the holidays.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year Everyone! My love goes out to all of you who follow our little family on this blog.

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