Posted by: Beth | December 20, 2020

Special Holidays

“It’s so good to see you!”

“Ohhhh, dinner smells delicious!”

“Just put those gifts under the tree.”

Children shriek with delight as they play tag and pet the puppies.

Cheerful chatter fills the house.

Ornaments shatter as the tree crashes to the floor with little Buzzing Buzz on top of it.

“Oh it was accident.  Let’s just get it cleaned up.  You kids go play outside a little longer” is said while furrows deepen on the forehead and the tongue bites the words, “Gosh why can’t they just discipline that child?!”

The smoke alarm screams as rolls are toasted into a burnt offering.

“Well, this is a Christmas we won’t forget,” is laughing said; eye-rolling looks are passed around the kitchen; “I wish they’d just stay home” and “I could do much better with that child” are mouthed silently.

What??? Half the gifts are unwrapped!!

Holidays can be joyful, merry, and bright.  In the same room is someone just hoping and praying that none of the above disasters happen.  It’s a strange mixture of excited anticipation of spending time with family and deep anxiety for some parents. They have consulted health-care providers, talked with counselors, restricted diets, and limited electronic time.  And still, whenever there’s a bit of excitement in the air, no matter the reason, total chaos erupts.  The child may be the white tornado swirling loudly through the crowd or the child may be cowering in a corner or under the porch until someone notices they’re missing.

If that’s your child, take heart.  Being special (as it was called when I was a kid) or neuro-atypical (a common word these days) may be obvious or elusive.  You may know from day one that your child is not going to live on the “normal” spectrum of life.  It may be years of little oddities and mild to extreme difficulties before you have a plan for successfully integrating your child’s uniqueness with society. You will hear things like “God only gives special children to special parents.”  That’s a crock of unpleasant-smelling stuff.  Out-of-the-norm things happen and God gives you grace and strength to navigate life. You will hear, “Just beat it out of him,” and “put her on restriction.” Nothing will work all the time.  Some interventions work sometimes.  Life, overall, slowly gets a little smoother and you begin to breathe a little easier.  Maybe, just maybe, this year will be a positive holiday experience.

God bless the relatives and friends who say to you, “I have no idea what you’re going through, but I love you and I pray for you and I’m here to listen.”  Because you know, Job’s friends had it right that first week.

“Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words.” Job 2:13 NLT


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