Wednesday, December 8, 2010

In the Bleak Midwinter

According to my husband's Germanic traditions, this past weekend was seeped in Christmas as we prepared to celebrate St. Nick night. It's a weekend flurry of activity full of exciting things like visiting a nearby Christmas tree farm. We pack GF/CF versions of hot cocoa and marshmallow treats and make an event out of cutting down a tree with friends. Then we haul out boxes of decorations and old toys, all that have some special story or remembrance that gets retold as we remove tissue and bubble wrap and place them on the tree. We bring out an electric toy train — I'm sure all you Autie Moms know what sort of excitement a train can bring. And of course there's the stockings. The children hang them under the mantel and leave a note for Santa — a wish list for Christmas now only a handful of weekends away. Generations of toys, a lifetime of stories and the sparkle of childhood wishes being fulfilled excite not just the kids, but us too. It is hard not to go all out when it comes to Christmas. Each year, I vow, we should cut back.

Because after all, C.S. had one very bad Friday at school.

And Monday wasn't much better.

By Tuesday, I was on a phone conference with five members of his Special Ed team from school. Granted, we had intended to plan a conference call for some time, but on Monday, the date was quickly made with a sense of renewed focus and urgency.

And as for my search for the bright side of all, it is not hard to find. (here's my silver lining right here, in the middle) This year, we have a five-plus member team in place to help him through such difficult days. We have a social worker that knows exactly how and what to say to coax an explanation out of a him and help us all understand his perspective of the situation. I'm at home and available to him more than I've ever been. Still, even with all this in place, I could not prevent our annual winter meltdown. It came all the same.

Sometimes I wonder, would it be so Grinchy of me, if I took away all the do-digglers and ting-tinglers. Afterall, according to the book of Seussian wisdom as well as common sense, without them, Christmas would come anyway.

There is a huge part of me that wants to tuck my children into our home. And there, around a fire in our fireplace, very quietly, barely leaving a trace in the snow, sometime in the midst of a dark and quiet semi-hibernation, then, I'd allow Christmas to sneak up on us, bright as candlelight in the bleak midwinter.

But I could not prevent Christmas from roaring in like a train. What was once the quietest season of the year, now bustles with activity for all of us. It seems especially so for the children. At school, the Christmas party seems to come so fast on the heels of the Thanksgiving party that had to live up to the call for a feast and that so soon after we celebrated Halloween with costumes and bucketfuls of candy. Each of these are a discomforting disruption in the now established routine that for C.S. is so comforting. Add to this that the school is wrapping up the first half of the year with book reports to complete and report cards to be issued. Winter concerts are right around the corner too. The thought of all these performance assessments has C.S. overwhelmed with anxiety.

Would it be so bad if I wished our winters were once again darker and more bleak?

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