A Gift for Christmas

I’ve eaten the turkey.  I’ve made the cakes.  I’ve laughed with family and friends.  My little one sat at the children’s table ALONE this year and things are looking rosy.  Maybe I should say showy. The holiday season is in full swing and schools will soon be out for the year’s end.

With only a few weeks left in the year there is an upbeat to the step of most of the people I encounter. I hear music in the air.  Someone on the radio is dreaming of a white Christmas.  I’ve never seen that color in December because right now it’s a whopping 80 degrees in Central Florida.  I should be happy but I have the worst anxiety I have had of any time this year.  A good friend just asked me…

“What are you getting your daughter for Christmas?”

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I could have passed out.  Right there.  Flat on the floor.

I’ve fielded this question three times already.  It started right before Thanksgiving. Then Black Friday.  Then Cyber Monday.  And here it rears its ugly head again for the piece de resistance. The coup de gras.  The 12th round knockout blow.

My heart is beating way too fast and I start to sweat.  I should have known that eventually I would have to answer that question but when I was finally asked I immediately froze. What was I going to say?  There are only T-minus a few days left and I have known this day was coming for twelve months.  Yet suddenly I was in the throws of an adult meltdown with a friend that I love dearly.

So I did what any other quick thinking parent would do.

I said, “Huh?”

Being the parent of a child with special needs has given me plenty of practice with being quick on my feet.  I can put a condescending, nosy stranger in their place in the blink of an eye and I can handle doctors, therapists, insurance reps, and specialists with the greatest of ease.  I am a champion for my little one and I’ve never met a challenge that I didn’t attack with swiftness and ferocity.  I am an advocates’ advocate.  When Ghostbusters needs someone to call, they call ME.

But right now I can’t think of a single solitary thing to say.

Seven years ago when I was still running my business and being that jet-setting upwardly mobile go-getter that I was seems like an eternity ago.  Since becoming a special needs parent things took a drastic turn in a direction I knew nothing of navigating.  Whereas in my previous life by this time of the year I would have all my gifts bought and wrapped, bills paid, and bags packed because I would be headed to somewhere other than here and loving every minute of it.  What a difference a few years make.

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Now don’t for a minute think that I’m pining for those days.  My life now is richer even though I am not.  The value of the time spent being a stay-at-home-mom cannot be measured and it shows in the progress my daughter has made in each stride of her life.  She is a well-rounded, headstrong and confident little lady who has taught me more in these brief seven years than I have learned in my entire life.  Yet changing careers mid-life to accommodate a daughter who needed more care than most other children I knew at her age was a daunting and scary undertaking.  The anxiety of having all the I’s dotted and T’s crossed is a challenge most months and the holidays pose even more of a challenge with the added effects of gifts, travel, parties and the like thrown into the mix.  And furthermore the year’s end brings a start to deductibles and spring activity fees and those other things that go bump in the day.  I have to be smart about my coins and not let the idea of a day overshadow the needs of the month.

My friend started talking about some deals that she had found online and didn’t even realize that I hadn’t answered her.  “I’m going to send them to your inbox.” she said.

“Oh. Okay then.” I replied.

My heart had returned to a semi-normal pre-question beat.  I didn’t need to breath in a bag anymore and I had survived another round of holiday anxiety.  I had almost survived the full conversation and then she said…

“Are you going to the Christmas party?”

So I did what any other quick thinking parent would do.

I said, “Huh?”

 

 

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Inclusion Is For The Included (Front Cover)

Inclusion Is for the Included: A Collection of Stories from a Special Needs Mom,” available NOW at https://store9809015.ecwid.com/

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Inclusion Is for the Included: A Collection of Stories from a Special Needs Mom,” available NOW at https://store9809015.ecwid.com/                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              If you liked this post, why not leave a message here, share this post, or join in the conversation on my FB page, www.facebook.com/countdowntok    I’d love to hear from you! 
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