My offspring are still believers. Yes, at 11, 9 & 5, they have not even broached the subject once. For them, the “S” man is still as real as he has ever been, and is watching them like a hawk (Tom & I feel strongly that we must use this as long as we possibly can – after all, we are clearly outnumbered). A few years ago, Tom suggested to our trio that bad behavior causes reindeer to poop in their stockings, while positive behavior (including random acts of kindness towards others) erases the excrement and brings about general good will. This is all well and good until Elliott wants to hold a door for someone, and when they thank him, he promptly asks “did I erase any poop”? Oh the joy of the holidays.
Yes, I’ve taken some heat from my Dad, who has suggested that especially the boys are getting a little old for the Santa gig. While he may be on to something, as I’ve shared with him, I don’t feel like it should be someone’s Mom who tells them the truth – that just seems unnatural to me. While I will be their soft place to land when the truth comes out, I don’t want to be the dream crasher. Besides, I suspect that Henry is on to something, but realizes the truth is not worth exploring because the idea of Santa is way cooler than verifying the truth. He is, in many ways, a wise old soul that way.
Because autism has a way of creating – at least for Elliott – very black & white thinking, we know he is still a believer. Rest assured, when he figures this out, he will not be shy about telling the world what’s up. That said, I’m ok with that. There are so many aspects of a typical childhood that we missed out on with Elliott because of the myriad of challenges he faced – even now, many of those years seem like a fog to me. I can look back at pictures, which are mostly charming and smiley, but our world was anything but charming and smiley. I barely remember anything about Henry’s first year of life, except that our life was a living hell. Even his first Christmas Eve, at 3 months old, was spent in the E.R. because of a nail trimming gone wrong (at least he had a little Santa hat!).
All that said, even though some of this Christmas magic is happening for us a little late, it’s worth it! Everything from decorating the tree to baking to driving around the neighborhood drinking hot cocoa and admiring holiday light displays is so much fun for our offspring, it kind of makes my heart warm & tingly and I remember my own magical Christmas childhood moments. It feels so natural and so normal – and for us, average is pretty awesome, even if for a fleeting moment.
Today I walked to the mailbox to add some mail, and when I opened it, right on top, was a letter addressed to Santa, North Pole, from Elliott Kramer. He used his nicest penmanship, and shared the following “wish list” with Santa:
1. An apple laptop computer
2. A touch screen code door with a lock on it
3. A Dyson vacuum
4. Costco membership card
5. 3 sheets of holiday baubles stamps from the post office
6. Lego white dial chronograph watch
7. 3D movie tickets for the movie “New Year’s Eve” (I’ve never even heard of this movie, is it an “R”?)
I don’t know why, but it just made me tear up, and smile at the same time. His innocence is genuine, and his list is so him. I can’t tell you how many years he’s asked for a security door (the kind with the keypad used for security purposes in office buildings), and while I can still find a hint of humor in many of his choices, you need to understand that he’s come light years. 2 years ago, he asked for $1 million dollars cash and a $748.00 gift card from Oriental Trading Company. We’re moving in the right direction, and for whatever reason, there is a spark of Christmas magic in all of that. It just makes me smile.
Perhaps all this Santa business is on the minds of our crew because Ada had an early visit from the “S” man yesterday. For the past several months, she’s been telling everyone she knows that she is getting a bunk bed, and that it should be delivered in 10 weeks. Everyone but Tom & I knew about her bunk bed – it was apparently being delivered from Apple Valley – and she had big plans for a slumber party once it arrived. Considering her limited conversation skills, this was kind of an awesome topic that brought about a lot of chat, and thus, it’s come up a great deal over the past several weeks.
I’ve been scouring Craig’s List to find something simple for her, and alas, I scored. It’s a family that is moving, and needed to unload it quickly. It’s got some fabric that allows for the top part of the bunk to serve as a fort, and a fun little slide you can take to get from the top to the bottom. While we had grandiose plans of finding a bunk bed, and assembling it Christmas Eve night in her room, that fell apart when Tom went to pick it up yesterday and realized he needed to reassemble it ASAP in order to remember how to rebuild it. We scrambled to make a new plan.
We gathered at the red couch, and shared with the small folk that Daddy had taken a call from Santa, and he had an item that was just too large to fit in his sleigh, and he needed help getting it to Ada a little early. When she saw her new bunk bed hanging out the back of the van, well her expression would have melted even the Grinch’s’ heart! Both boys helped Ada & Dad get it set up, and everyone worked together as best they could. It was awesome in every way, and I can’t help but smile when I look at our newly conversational little girl hanging out in her fort with her brothers and enjoying sibling time together.
Makes me a believer in Santa and the magic of Christmas all over again . . .