Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Facing Fears - And Finding Them, Too !

Well, Christmas is over. It was fabulous! Alex's out of town G'parents were here, which made it extra special! We only get to see them once or twice a year, so it was great to have them here over the holidays!

When I last wrote, I wrote about the stresses we go through trying to find the "perfect" gifts for our kids, especially how difficult it was to find those for Alex. During the last few days I realized that all this time, what I thought was the cause of my stress, wasn't really the cause after all.

This gift that I so desperately seek year after year for Alex has so much meaning to both Alex's Dad and me. The look the kids, all three of them, get in their eyes when they open their presents, gives us the most amazing feeling. We don't get that feeling, or at least at that same level, very often. It is a truly special time for us.

For Alex though, it is different. Don't get me wrong, he does get that twinkle and smile, just like the girls, and it is magnificent! But there is another special type of feeling we have with him at Christmas time. I never really isolated it until this year.

That unique feeling we yearn for doesn't come when he opens his gift, or when his eyes light up. It doesn't come when he gets to tell all his friends at school that he got the popular gift, the same ones they all did. Some times it takes a while, hours, days or weeks. But when we get it, it is good!

This year Alex wanted an Ipod touch, a BB gun, digital camera and a remote control car. All relatively expensive. All items that are questionable as to whether or not he can operate them independently or even with help. All items that are somewhat delicate, or dangerous, and could easily break if, say, Alex were not able to make them work the way he wanted them to at that particular time and, say, throw it across a room. It has happened!

Somehow, and trust me I don't know how, Santa and some other elves, decided the kids were very good this year. Alex got all four items listed above, and many more! The kids eyes, Alex's included were popping out of their heads! You couldn't see the rest of their faces their smiles were so big. It was awesome!

Over the last few days, Alex's Dad and I have been given that gift of the most amazing special unique feeling! You see, it is very hard to explain, and many of you might not get it, but here is my best attempt at putting it into words. Examples are probably the best way to help you to understand.

I'll start with the Ipod touch. It's fair to say that almost every 13 year old knows what that is, and the majority of them can operate one easily. But, Alex's abilities aren't the same as those other 13 year olds. He knows all the other 13 year olds have or want one, so he wants one too! Even though we aren't sure he'll be able to even use it, or take care of it. Hmm... do you see our dilemma?

Or the digital camera... Big Sis has a nice digital camera. One evening she went to get her camera to take photos for some event, only to find 17 lovely stills of her flower vase and a wall poster on her camera. Big Sis does not like people messing with her stuff! The funniest and best pictures were the giveaway, the face shots of her little brother, he'd held out his arms and turned the camera on himself. Poor kid can't get away with anything!! So, the kid has obviously got some interest, and talent, too. But, he is 13 and the inexpensive kiddie cam just won't do. So ... we know he can half way work the decent camera, but again expensive and what if he doesn't like the pic and the camera suddenly takes flight? OK ? You have to see our shopping dilemma now, right?

Now, for my breakthrough! After 13 years of this "dilemma", which really is small potatoes in the grand scheme of things, I have seen the light!

The light is that unique special feeling that we get when Alex uses the Ipod touch or the digital camera just like every other 13 year old does. It's not a warm fuzzy feeling, that is way too overused to explain the significance of these moments! These moments are HUGE! These are warm fuzzies to the tips of your toes!

These are the moments we have hoped for and dreamed of for Alex since the day we received our diagnosis of Fragile X Syndrome. The stress I always felt while shopping, had nothing to do with shopping, it wasn't even stress. It was fear! Fear that Alex might not use that Ipod touch, or BBgun or whatever like the other kids his age did.

Dang it.... all these years, I thought I'd conquered all my fears years ago! And, I hate it when I am wrong!

I am not going to lie, we were very fearful, scared out of our wits actually, when Alex was first diagnosed. We thought we had faced and conquered our fears. Ironically, it was not until this Christmas that I was given the gift of realization. I hadn't completely conquered my fears, just chosen to misinterpret them and selectively let them out in different forms.

So now, as a New Year's Resolution, I refuse to let those fears into my head at Christmas time, or any other time for that matter. Alex is Alex, Big Sis is Big Sis, Twin Sis is Twin Sis, Alex's Dad is Alex's Dad and I am very lucky to have them all! I don't have room for any fear, nor should I be afraid of anything. I would not have been given these Gifts if Some One didn't think I could handle them!

My job, is to figure out how to handle them! And thank goodness Some One has a sense of humor! My other job, only because I choose to make it mine, is to make Some One laugh a lot!

Happy New Year, everyone! And try to laugh, maybe even just a little, at your fears this year!!


The Lesters said...

Sounds like a wonderful Christmas! =)

Helen McGinn said...

How wonderful. It does indeed sound like a wonderful Christmas. A happy New Year to you all. xx

Emily Dahmer said...

Oh I'm sure he was SO excited about everything...especially the iPod! I'm missing him!

onmymission said...

Absolutely awesome post ! It is hard to get that point across, the elation, the thrill, the excitement...that warm fuzzy that is warmer than any other ! I soooo feel ya on this one ! It's frustrating when words can't explain the magnitude, but so special that it's a feeling us Moms of special needs children can share among each other....and we just know ! so glad you had a good christmas !

JDaniel4's Mom said...

It sounds like you had a special Christmas.

Thanks for stopping by with the warning. At 45 one 21 month old is all I can handle. I think some of this has to do with his age and some with the fact that his playmates mom's are having babies. They are all almost ten years younger than me.