Let’s talk about how tough Christmas can be for autism families

I’ve had a pretty great week. I’ve been job hunting, which is exciting, and it feels good. I’m looking to fill in some of the gaps while building my business. I need to gain some lost ground, and this will help. There are some pretty great opportunities that I might qualify for, and they’re remote. That’s a perfect fit, especially with COVID. This is a big move for me, but it’s the right one, at least for right now.

I should add that I’m exceptionally grateful for all the love and support I have in my life. I wouldn’t have made it this far or had the courage to explore new opportunities if I didn’t have that.

The boys are ready for Christmas to be over with. I’ve talked about this before, and I know many of you can relate. They tend to get overstimulated by all the excitement and anticipation. They can still become overwhelmed during significant holidays like Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, they love everything about Christmas, but all the excitement can take its toll. I was reading in my Autism Parenting Reddit sub about how some of you handle Christmas in your house, and I can relate. By the way, we reached 6,000 families much sooner than I had hoped. Please join us over there and be part of some great discussions.

Anyway, I can relate to celebrating early and limiting visits. I can relate to meltdowns and anxious kids. I also understand the desire to want our kids to experience the magic of Christmas as well. As an autism parent, I can appreciate how wanting them to have an amazing Christmas experience filled with family, friends, presents, and activities can sometimes have to be put on hold because it’s not what’s best for them at the moment. I get all of it, and you’re not alone.

Even as my kids have aged, they can still reach a point where the best thing for all of us is to get it over with. I mean, they opened their presents earlier this week, because I could see the writing on the wall. Emmett tends to struggle with this a bit more, and he will openly admit it. It’s sort of a joke in our house. The interesting thing is that as he’s matured, he can verbalize better what he’s feeling and communicate why something is causing him distress. It doesn’t necessarily eliminate the problem, but it provides insight into how certain things in life, even positive ones, can impact him.

The whole point is that I get it. I understand the struggle, especially when kids are younger and haven’t developed the skills they need to better regulate themselves.

I have decided that next year I want to restore some of the Christmas magic and try to extend their childhood a bit more. I’m not suggesting anything crazy, but perhaps a little less predictable and a bit more mystery. I feel like we can do this, and it could be a very positive experience. We can find a better balance and make some fantastic memories.

As we head off today to begin the second half of our Christmas celebration, the kids are very excited, and so am I. We’re going to have some firsts today, and I’m very much looking forward to that.

I know how tough the holidays can be, and they can be challenging for a million different reasons. My kids will be with their mom for Christmas day, and I’m happy for them. Do I wish they could be home? Sure, but I won’t be alone. I’ll be right where I should be, and so will they. Memories will be made, and perhaps new traditions created.

Depending on where you are along your journey, I know the next few days might be hard. I’ve been there. Heck, sometimes I’m still working my way out of there. Know that things will get better. I’ve said before that I’m not a big believer in time healing all wounds. That being said, I do think that time helps us find a path forward when we must change course. It might not be visible right away but keep pushing and you’ll find it. Time has helped me to gain perspective and chart a path forward that provides my life with better balance. It took some time but I’ve made it and you will as well.

I wish you all the best this holiday season. Please stay safe, wear a mask, get vaccinated, test when necessary, and take care of each other. Christmas was canceled for my entire family this year as a result of multiple breakthrough COVID infections. I’m keeping my circle small this year and spending time with those closest to me.

Whatever you’re celebrating and however you choose to do it, I wish you safety, good health, many positive memories.

Rob Gorski

Full time, work from home single Dad to my 3 amazing boys. Oh...and creator fo this blog. :-)
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Merry Christmas to you and yours!