Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Magic Mirror

Holidays are a fun time of year that both children and adults enjoy. It's a time of celebration: traditions, giving & receiving, loads of laughter, special trips, amazing food and so much more. We all have our favorites - as well as those we could pass on!

When I became a mom, I was excited to have these special times with my own children. I was excited to pass on traditions Rob and I had as kids and creating our own in the years to come. As Dylan has grown, I must admit my outlook on holidays is different than I envisioned in my early years of motherhood. It's not bad, but certainly not what I pictured.

There is no doubt that while holidays are fun, they also take a lot of work. This is certainly true in the world of raising a child who has a special needs and how you approach holidays! For example, we celebrate Halloween, just in a very mild way. We attempt to do friendly costumes and take the kids out to do a bit of trick-or-treating. Dylan, of course, is obsessed with "scary" costumes. He's very visual and if he had his choice, he'd be a bat, witch, ghost or something else along those lines. They're vibrant and intense and grab his attention. This year he opted to be the "Magic Mirror" from Snow White. I would have preferred to have him go as Prince Charming, but this was a happy medium.

Beyond dressing up, Dylan really couldn't care less about Halloween. He doesn't eat candy, so trick-or-treating means nothing to him. It's these aspects of the various holidays that are challenging for us. We look forward to the holidays, but also do a fair amount of cringing. We want the family as a whole to enjoy holidays and the special festivities that come with them, but finding a balance has proven to be difficult. We want to celebrate as family unit, but often Rob or I must stay in with Dylan, as many things are over stimulating and result in a complete meltdown from Dylan. Our church does a yearly Harvest Carnival and we make it a point to never attend. It's an amazing event and all of our closest and dearest friends attend and we would love to go...but if we did, misery would engulf our family.

As each year passes, we grow as a family in how we celebrate holidays. We make modifications, remembering both the good and the bad from previous years. We're always tweaking things. It's just another part of our life. As I think back on this year's current Halloween, I already know that next year we'll set the porch up in a fun, festive manner and have Dylan pass out candy. He loves to see all the costumes and this will allow him to enjoy the holiday in his own, unique way. Make no mistake, I want him out filling a bag with candy and my heart aches to tell him he's had too many pieces, but that's not the hand we've been least, not yet!

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