Special Needs “Sisters”
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There is a time to be proud

 

sarah and hadley collage

My girls…

One who is special with a heart of gold…

One with special needs who will make your heart melt…

One who goes into things with an open heart…

One who tries with all of her heart…

One who trained to run her first 5K…

One who works hard just to walk everyday…

One who wants all that the world has to offer…

One who is happy with a hug and a kiss…

No matter what…

There isn’t a day…

When I am not proud of both of my girls!

Special Needs Blog Hop, I’m there!

Today as I was hoping around bloggyworld I came across a Special Needs Blog Hop and I was so happy to meet up with these amazing moms and read their stories. The special needs community is a very unique community and it is special to have the support of each other. I recently began featuring other special needs “sista’s” on my site and look forward to meeting many more that I can share with.

The idea behind this hop, which was created by Tammy From Autism Learning Felt and Stacie from Super Mommy To The Rescue, was with hopes to bring the Special Needs Community closer together. Provide awareness and support to each other. Thanks to both of them!

This weeks Theme: What are 5 goals you have for the New Year?

1. I do not really believe in New Years resolutions so I’m just going to call these goals…. First and foremost I would like to continue on my Wellness Makeover that I began last March, I have been on a little hiatus and really need to get back to the gym and keep moving on, it really is a marathon and not a sprint.

2. I would like to become a little more “relaxed” this year… I’m working on it…

3. I would very much like to make it to Italy this year! I have a big birthday coming up this year and I have wanted to go to Italy for sometime and I am hoping that 2011 will be the year to make that happen.

4. I am on the brink of starting a new “business” and really would like to get that together this year.

5. As a little personal goal, I am going to try and make it to allll of my doctor’s this year! I spend so much time on everyone else’s needs I’m going to try and put my medical needs on top this year… Hello Mr. Root Canal! Uhhh

Love to have you join in!

I’d like to introduce you to Sunday

A few months ago I spent a wonderful weekend in Philly for Bloggy Boot Camp and I met a bunch of special women some of whose blogs I have been reading for some time. It was great to meet so many women with such diverse backgrounds who loved to share their stories. I particularly enjoyed meeting women whose lives were similar to mine, thus the introduction to Sunday..

 

women with funny maskThis week marks the beginning of the holiday season.  In the coming days many will celebrate Thanksgiving.  In December families will come together for Hanukkah, Christmas, or Kwanzaa.  Each holiday involves its own unique celebrations and customs influenced both by family and culture.

In our home the holidays are influenced most by Autism.

If you visit our home you will not find a large Christmas tree in the living room lovingly adorned with ornaments passed down from my mom’s tree.  There will be no lavish spread of food because the boys refuse to eat anything other than their normal day to day fare of grilled cheese sandwiches and homemade chocolate chip cookies.  The fireplace is cold and still on Christmas Eve because setting one is too dangerous around the boys.  Similarly, you will not find us loading up the car with presents and suitcases for a trek to share the joy of the holidays with our families.

Because it seems autism is not something they want their holiday to include.

Every year I go through the varopis stages of grief over the fact that my family chooses to not include my boys in their holiday plans.

Shock & Disbelief:  
Why wouldn’t grandparents want to spend the holidays with their grandchildren?  Even if said grandchildren  prefer playing with wrapping paper, long colorful ribbons, and loud obnoxious toys over sitting quietly in Grandma’s lap while she reads them ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas?  Christmas is supposed to be about the children and celebrating with them the magic and beauty of the holidays.  Why would grandparents and family choose to miss out on that?

Anger & Bargaining:
When the boys’ grandparents choose to spend their holidays with their other grandchildren who do not have autism I am left feeling nothing but anger.  In some ways I am comforted in knowing that the boys do not know nor care why their grandparents are not visiting with us.  But I do, and it burns me up!

In previous years I would bend over backwards to invite family to celebrate with us.  I would plan out elaborate menus and wake up at 4 am to start the turkey in hopes of getting a couple hours in the kitchen before the boys woke up.  Family would come, eat, stay maybe an hour and then leave immediately following dessert.  I stopped trying to cater to their needs of my extended family after that.

Depression, Reflection, & Loneliness:
This stage seems to be where I spend most of my time during the holiday season.

I mostly feel lonely and a bit sad for family and all they are missing out on when it comes to the boys and how quickly they are growing up.

I miss my mom something fierce too.  She was was the best damn Nana this world ever saw.  She was also an amazing mother and friend.  Before her death in 2004 you would find her spending every weekend, every holiday, and all her vacation time visiting her grandchildren and having fun with them.  I mourn the fact that she is not here now to enjoy her grandsons like I know she would have wanted.

Acceptance & Hope:
Eventually (typically somewhere around December 24th) I make peace with the choices my family has made in how and with whom they choose to celebrate the holidays.

I focus on making the most of Christmas with my amazing husband and the boys. Mike and I sip eggnog, play Christmas music much too loud (which the boys love!), turn on the outside Christmas lights, break out the Scrabble board, and later we turn on The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and A Charlie Brown Christmas Special and we enjoy our grilled cheese sandwiches and chocolate chip cookies together.  Just the way a family should at the holidays.

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Autism may mean my boys are different than most and that may mean that our holiday celebrations are a bit out of the ordinary as well.  But, ours is no less filled with love, a sense of togetherness and magic.

And if someone isn’t up for celebrating the holidays with two boys who embrace those holidays full force and without abandon….then its nothing more than their loss.

Sunday is the frazzled mom raising two boys on the severe end of the Autism spectrum while living to laugh and blog about it at Adventures in Extreme Parenthood.  You can also find Sunday tweeting her Banshee heart out on Twitter at @ExtremeParnthood and on Facebook by searching for her name: Sunday Stilwell.