Thursday, December 23, 2010

Coming Clean to a Perfect Christmas

Christmas is here! I have always loved the holidays. My house always has more "stuff" out for Christmas than I have room for. It's not the Martha Stewart variety stuff either. Its the walking talking Santa Clauses and the singing reindeer. My Christmas trees are decorated with every home made ornament my kids have ever created. My friends with finer tastes called it the "crap tree". It's a real tree, too, I've always believed Santa needs a real tree and sticky needles to put the presents under.

I have always had a very traditional Christmas - ridiculously traditional. My kids' Christmas's are exactly the same as mine were when I was a kid. Christmas eve we go to the candle light service at church, come home have some snacks, then kids off to bed. Once kids are in bed, the adults spend hours feverishly wrapping the presents to get them under the tree. We truly believe that part of Christmas is waiting until the last minute. - I have been trying to change that part the past couple of years!

Christmas morning, EVERY Christmas morning, we have pictures of the kids climbing the stairs in their pjs heading to the tree. They race to their presents, Santa's are always wrapped in red and are ALWAYS the best ones, they rip them open and paper flies everywhere! This has always been my favorite part. I don't think a kid needs to be reserved and polite when it comes to Santa's gifts! I think Christmas is the perfect time for a kid to just be a kid! I love the Christmas chaos! After the Santa gifts, they move on to the rest of the presents.

Then it's the adults turn. The kids take turns playing Santa and passing out the gifts. The newest adult family members are always astounded at this part of the morning, the adults tear through their presents just like the kids! It is awesome! I know some people think it's awful, but I've always loved it!

Then we sit down for breakfast, some of the adults assembling the kids' new presents, nap time for the others until the big family meal. I have had the same Christmas for all but two years of my life. Before I had my kids, it was always at my parents' home with my siblings. After I had my kids, Christmas morning was always here with all my family and sometimes even my in-laws.

This year we are changing it up! After more than forty years of tradition, I am going to have a completely different Christmas! I am very excited about it, but at the same time, a somewhat bittersweet. Dad, Alex, Twin Sis and Myself are taking a vacation. Leaving our home for the holidays.

This is where I come clean, the bittersweet part. You see, the other reason I stayed away from writing for so long is because the last post before my long break was about Alex's sisters.

I had written about how protective they were of Alex and how close they were. Well, early in the summer, Big Sis moved out. She left on bad terms. She moved in with other family members. She didn't call home for weeks. My entire extended family became involved, and Alex and Twin Sis no longer want to see her and are scared to death of the extended family. I won't share all of the ugly details here.

Dad and I tried to encourage the kids to maintain a relationship with their sister, but they asked us to stop forcing them to see her. As far as the extended family, again, it is a choice made by Alex and Twin Sis, but Dad and I are fully comfortable with their decision.

Unfortunately for you, though, I will offer some unsolicited advice. As I have told you before, Big Sis was six when the Twins were born, an only child, grandchild and niece for all those years. Then, not only was her life interrupted by a sibling, but the chaos of twins, and on top of that, one with special needs that required a lot of extra attention. Big Sis did get knocked off her perch, we knew it then, we tried to compensate for it. She resented it and we knew it. We thought we handled it, but we didn't. Big Sis is in college now. I think her resentment and jealousy are behind this blowup. I don't think it is entirely conscious, though. Who knows when or if she might come around? I can't second guess the way we did things. We were definitely in uncharted territory. I do know now some things I would have done differently. I know what mistakes not to make with Twin Sis!

One big mistake we made is that we ignored the outside environment. Watch those around you. Remember, Big Sis was the only child in their lives as well. Other people don't understand why a special needs child needs extra attention, even family members. They will resent you also. I've said before that it seemed like my "Rocks" understood Alex better than some of the family... well, it turns out that they do! (Thank you Rocks and Rock Babies!!!) The extended family does not understand how we could "abandon" our other children to take care of our Fragile X child. Always remember, NO ONE KNOWS UNLESS THEY HAVE LIVED IT. Believe it or not, othher people do convey their feelings to your children, and eventually, your children will believe them.

OK... no more advice or grumbling....

Anyhow, that is what kept me from my writing for so long. Ironic how one of my last posts was on the siblings, I guess I couldn't see through the fog. We have mostly come to terms and are coping with our new family arrangement. We have our highs and lows, we didn't see this coming. We never expected Bis Sis and my family to behave the way they have. But the fact of the matter is that they did. We will always be our daughter's parents if she decides she wants us. Until then all will be fine. There are many people dealing with much worse situations!

With all this going on, our oldest daughter not being her, and there being no chance of ever having THAT Christmas again, we decided we should just start a new one! We have so many good things going on that we will focus on those... So, we are going to travel!

We are going to a place that is new to all of us. We rented has beautiful views of the mountains. It offers opportunities not available here in Missouri. We will be making new memories instead of dwelling on the old!

We are going to try to teach Alex and Twin Sis how to ski! That ought to be an interesting day! At the very least, it ought to be a very funny Christmas, as Dad is a TERRIBLE skier, and I haven't skied in years. Our house is remote enough that we may be able to spot some wildlife, and maybe do some snowmobiling. Anyhow, it will be a lot of fun! I do already know that next year we will be a warm climate vacation. I am already freezing my butt off here in Missouri!

I have decided though, that what I always thought was the perfect Christmas wasn't really. The PERFECT Christmas is on its way, it's whatever I decide to make it!

Know that what you have is perfect ... and laugh lots. MERRY PERFECT CHRISTMAS !!!!


Tammy said...

I'm stunned. I'm so sorry you had to go through all this. But I'm happy that you are taking the reins so-to-speak to make your Christmas as you decide it to be. We do what we can ! I recently had to make a decision to send my son out of the home on weekends...It's not fair that my girls have to live with all the agression and abuse, so for the betterment of the family I figured this was the best option. I am sure I have been judged greatly in this way...but so far nobody is voicing it. My girls have FX too and face their own challenges....and while my son is most severe, he is easiest adaptable to other environments...and you're so right, unless others live the life, they will just never understand. I am blessed to have parents who support me in my decisions...and blessed not to have brothers and sisters, lol !

Toyin O. said...

Nice post,so true,it is what we make of every season in our life. Happy New Year!

Umma said...

I'm so sorry to hear how stressful this year has been for your whole family. I love that you decided to make new traditions though, I love the "survivor" spirit!

The X Factor After Little Becomes Big said...

Wow. How painful it must be for you to have to deal with this on top of the daily X challenges. My daughter was an only child for 8 years before my son with FXS and autism was born. It was exhausting and very expensive to over compensate for her having to adjust to our new family life. It sounds like our move to Kansas (away from family) may have been a good thing, although I've whined about it a lot through the years. When my daughter was a teenager and all through college, we made sure she had a therapist to talk to....someone unbiased and that she was comfortable with. That helped tremendously and seems to have worked for us so far. I hope your oldest daughter will find her way back to you and her siblings.

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