Friday, December 26, 2008

A Merry Little Christmas

There have been some lovely posts lately on a Christmas Carol theme, specifically the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and yet to come:
Ghosts of Christmases Past at Diary of a Mom, and Ghosts of the Season at Maternal Instincts were two that particularly struck me.

I've been reflecting on Christmas comparisons, Christmas progress, Christmas forecasts as well.

Christmas 2006 was a rough one. We'd just had Joy's autism diagnosis days before Christmas, and had not yet comprehended the dimensions of the regression she'd been experiencing. She was also having seizures, not too disruptive yet but definitely there. That holiday had some elements of shell-shock.

Christmas 2007 wasn't a piece of cake either. That year the seizures were in full swing, and Joy wasn't feeling well at all. The traditional family visit to AuntieS' place was one big meltdown. And then a whole bunch of switches flipped all at once (i.e. another regression) right about at Christmas, and the next few months were some of the roughest we've had yet.

This year? We had a lovely quiet Christmas. The seizures have been on hiatus since mid-September (touch/knock wood!) Not even really on the radar screen right now, which feels very nice.

While the seizures don't have me on edge, the whole regression thing does, seeing as how it's happened twice in a row at this time of year. So far, though, there's nothing in particular to point to. (More touch/knock on the computer desk, or my own forehead...)

We'd hoped to go party with the extended JoyDad family at AuntieS' on Christmas Eve per usual, and even got into the car and drove for an hour, but there was blowing snow across the highway and lots of slow travel and cars in the ditch, and we eventually turned around. A shame to have missed it, but we're hoping to see most everyone tomorrow night if the weather doesn't get in the way again...

We let the girls open one present each on Christmas Eve since they didn't get their extended-family presents. Then they climbed into their brand-new matching footie-jammies and settled down for a long winter's nap.

Christmas morning brought giggles and grins and a lovely pile of presents, though not so many that we couldn't open them one by one, to savor each in its turn.

Stockings Hung With Care
Joy's favorite present, hands down, was the accordion tube in her stocking, that makes noises when you squish it open and closed.

Accordion Tube
The My Little Pony was also a hit due to its lovely stimmy mane & tail. And then there was all the tissue paper, and one shiny ribbon in particular. She didn't really get the whole present-opening thing, but was willing to play along and pull and tear paper when encouraged. The aforementioned presents and trimmings kept her happily occupied pretty much all morning.

Rose was thrilled with her new My Little Pony too (the pony's name is Snow-El, I kid you not!) She also liked her new Children's Dictionary, and the old digital camera that we handed down to her since Santa brought us a new one. She spent lots of time posing the ponies -- Snow-El is the white one with the halo:

My Little Ponies
A highlight for JoyDad was a collection of 8x10 photos from the lake up north, with a promise of post-Christmas framing. For me, I got footie-jammies too! And then there was this mask that Rose made for me:

JoyMama Mask
Christmas Day passed at a leisurely pace. Rose and I baked zwieback, a traditional double-decker yeast bun (the link is to a blog called Mennonite Girls Can Cook!!)

Rose Kneads the Zwieback
As darkness fell in the late afternoon, we all ventured out by car to drive through an elaborate display of holiday lights that appears each year in one of the local parks. And after dinner, we actually built a fire! In the fireplace! And Joy was laid-back enough to keep out of the way, with only a little additional monitoring!

I've got a lot of questions for Christmases yet to come. At what point will receiving and opening gifts actually become a joy for Joy? When and how to involve her in the giving of gifts? Will the whole Santa thing ever make enough sense at all to explain? Or more profoundly, the newborn baby in the manger, God on earth among us?

But all in all, this has been a merry little Christmas so far, with more family treats yet to come.

God bless us, every one.


Anonymous said...

and you, my dear friend .. and you

so many gifts yet to unfold in time, so much beauty awaits.

it sounds like it was a wonderful day in its own way. with many more to come.

Anonymous said...

What, no picture of JoyMama in the new footie pjs????
We definitely missed all of you here on Christmas Eve. It was a relatively quiet evening with Joy and Rose's cousin KJ being the only "kid" here. I am keeping fingers crossed that the weather will cooperate today and we will all be together later today! I look forward to the fun of watching Joy and Rose open gifts. I am happy to keep giving Joy opportunities to experience the gift opening event that may someday lead to her actually understanding and enJOYing the "ritual." I certainly get JOY from shopping for the gifts!
I too was thinking about the difference between Christmas 2007 and 2008 for Joy. I don't know what would have happened here this year, but I was anticipating a much calmer time based on the way Joy was when you were here for turkey day. I actually set up my whole set of ceramic North Pole buildings and figures with the thought that Joy would be less likely to be trying to touch and grab this year! You know I love her no matter what she does, but I am glad that she seems to be calmer nowadays which allows your whole family to better enjoy these holiday times. I guess this is another of those times that we need to just live in the moment and enjoy Joy without worrying too much about when things might change again. See ya very soon, I hope!

Anonymous said...

Another beautiful post, JoyMama. I suspect you do not know how MUCH your writing and sharing benefit others. MUCH.*

One of the lessons of A Christmas Carol seems to be on timing. Humanity's wait for the Christ Child was long, and we wait again for His return.

I agree with ARatK (per usual, us RatKs think a lot alike.) Living in the moment is one of those lessons in timing also. After all, it took Scrooge a lifetime.

Having lived up to my reputation and nickname, I sign-off with words from Oliver Twist:

*"Please, Sir, may I have some more?"


Niksmom said...

It sounds like yours was a very wonderful day, indeed. It's so hard not to watch and think about "what will it be like next year?" isn't it? I know when I live in the moment with Nik, my life is richer and more beautiful. I suspect it's the same for all of us.

Merry Christmas, my friend. xo

JoyMama said...

ARatK - Nope, no footie-jammie pics of me. Even if JoyDad did use the word "sexy" in reference to my new nightwear... you know what kind of sense of humor he has... Frankly, it makes me look like a washed-out Smurf (pale blue all over!) But it's soooo comfy.

BRatK - some MORE? You want some MORE? LOL