When the Holidays Aren't So Jolly
I was just in the car and started signing along...'it's a holly jolly Christmas, it's the best time of the year!' I see so many people posting their amazing photos of family outings. Kids smiling, laughing, and enjoying the true wonderment of the season.
Ever feel like you got the raw end of the deal for moments like this? I get to talk to so many families in this line of work. One of the most common things I hear is, 'I just wish we could enjoy normal things like other families, but it's just so hard.' It's because when you have a little, or maybe even more than one, that has therapeutic needs even the most joyous of occasions create such a level of stress and anxiety that sometimes it's just easier to stay home. For a family with a picky eater you either pray there is enough acceptable food at the celebration or you are packing your own food and are faced with explaining why you have to bring a lunch bag everywhere you go. If you have a sensory avoider you are bringing all of the things to make your kiddo comfortable during a family party like headphones, extra minky's and lovies, writing social stories, or even charging the iPad just in case your kiddo wants to hide in a corner for the night. If you have a child with emotional regulation difficulties you may be secretly crossing your fingers and toes that your child doesn't get upset if they unwrap a present they don't like. What is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year is the time that can often make you the saddest.
We see you. We 100% see you. We hear this constantly from our families during therapy sessions. You are definitely not alone. The best advice I can give is to grant yourself grace. Even though it's the holidays stay true to understanding what your kiddo needs to feel loved and supported. Set realistic goals and expectations for yourself and your child. Sadly, people will pass judgement and that is the thing that angers me most. But in times like that I reflect on the progress my kiddo has made. I bring it back to the thing I always tell myself in tough moments, 'I know you're in there, sweetie, and I will do everything I can to bring it out.' As long as I stay focused on that, the outside noise means nothing.
And...as I always end a blog...take care of yourself! Have that glass of wine and take that extra long bubble bath! You, of all people, deserve it!