I used to hate the day after Christmas. It was always such a bummer. All the waiting and expectation for Christmas Day was suddenly over. Presents were opened and needed to be put away. Decorations started to come down. Christmas cheer begins to subside, and instead of joyful shoppers at the mall searching for the perfect gift, it’s full of disgruntled shoppers waiting In return lines. I remember always being in such a funk the day after Christmas.
Then I became a mom. Something about that first year as mother. The joy of your baby and experiencing a love you never knew existed. It gave me such a perspective that I had never had about what Mary went through and the true love that is the birth of Jesus Christ. The true spirit of Christmas found its way into my heart, and the day of Christmas no longer seemed so bad.
But then y’all, I became an Autism mom, and Christmas took on a whole new meaning. If you follow me on social media, you’ve seen me post in past years about the massive level of excitement that my son, Michael, has for Christmas. Michael loves a good party more than most neuro-typical kids. I can say this with certainty because I happen to have 2 other neuro-typical kids. Michael loves to decorate, give and get gifts, play games....you name it, Michael loves it. He is a sensory-seeking kid, and parties provide a lot of sensory input. So you can imagine that Christmas is for sure his favorite time of year. But think of it this way, a party here and there for a couple of hours is perfectly fine, but at Christmas it’s 30 days of a non-stop party. There are decorations everywhere you go. There is always an activity, a gift, a song, a pageant, a cookie, a movie, or something else that’s special and festive. Michael loves all of it, and he takes it VERY seriously. Elise put it best when she said it’s like he feels a sort of pressure to be in perfect Christmas form every moment of every day. For example, this is how Michael went to bed almost every single night since Thanksgiving.
Always ready for a Christmas party no matter the time or place. Is it adorable and endearing? Yes. Is it also incredibly exhausting if you are his parents? YES!!!! If you need some help to understand this, imagine the massive tantrum Clark Griswold has when the lights on his house don’t work, or when Buddy the Elf takes apart furniture to build a rocking horse? You get the idea. And this goes on for a solid month. Do you want to send me wine yet? I thought so!
So back to the day after Christmas. You know how I said I used to hate it? Well, now it might very well be my absolute favorite day of the year. Here is a picture of Michael today.
Completely calm. Peacefully watching movies and cuddling with me on the couch. The verbal stimming and meltdowns that came back to haunt us this month are nowhere to be found. It’s like someone flipped a switch and my little boy has come back. It’s December 26th, the pressure of Christmas is gone, and my little boy has come back to me.
It’s a Christmas miracle!