Blogging for the Holidays - Double Dog Dare You!


Blogging for the Holidays - Double Dog Dare You!

0 - Happy Holidays!

Hello fellow caregivers!  It's that time of year again, yep, the Holidays.  My family was never big on celebrating holidays when I was a kid.  We moved a lot.  We had quite a few different step-dads.  We lived in lots of different places.  Once I grew up and had my own family, four kiddos, my husband made sure that we celebrated more.  We now have things on St. Nick's (who the heck even knew about this holiday), Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.  Yet, we are still not the types to go crazy.  I mean we have four kiddos and even if they only get a few presents each -- that is a lot of gifts.

The holidays get more complicated as the kids grow up too.  One of our children is autistic.  It was hard the first five years watching her really not care at all that we were opening gifts.  We would buy what we thought was the perfect gift, agonizing over it for weeks, just to have her dismiss the entire thing.  Then we would worry that she would put something odd in her mouth, she has pica, and then we would be in the emergency room or she would be throwing up.  Holidays got really stressful for me.  I was always concerned about where she was, what she was doing, who was with her, etc.  I became what I never wanted to be, a helicopter parent.  Yet, it was necessary.  I didn't helicopter the others, but I did her.  Then the other three kids felt like I didn't care about them because I wasn't always hovering over them.  Ugh, holidays were just so frustrating.

Then there are my parents.  All are close, but far.  Mom is two hours north of me.  Dad is about two hours south.  My step-dad, the one I keep in touch with, is another state away.  Mom needs help, not presents, but she doesn't want either.  Dad needs help and presents - and a call back when he sends a card.  It is a pretty big deal - this card thing - I guess.  My step-dad, well, he is just happy that I didn't forget him in the sea of all the step-families that I have to swim through during the holidays.

For quite a few years I would wallow in the frustrations and self-shaming and self-deprecating talk, alone, inside my own head.  It was so weird to feel alone when I was around so many people that I loved.  The lists of things left undone running through my head like the credits of a movie wouldn't quiet down and all I could see was the wrapping paper and bows on the floor that I needed to be sure to throw away so my daughter didn't eat them or choke on them.

There is a big long story behind when I decided to knock it off and start to enjoy life more, but that is for other blogs.  Let's just say, I decided to enjoy the small things and let the rest go.  This year our daughter, the autistic one, actually used her WORDS to tell us what she wanted to Christmas.  We got it.  I don't know if she will smile or show us she is happy about it -- but I don't need to see that anymore.  The big step here -- SHE USED HER WORDS to tell us what she wanted for Christmas.  What a gift we were given -- and before the big day even!

I know it might be hard for many of you.  I don't know what you are going through.  My journey is unlike yours, and yours is unlike mine.  Yet, I encourage you to look around this holiday season and TRY TO FIND the small moments of joy that were always there.  After all, seek and you shall find.  You get what you focus your attention on.  And even if you don't find what you are looking for, seeking to find the joy in life is so much more satisfying than looking for another reason to be sad.

Look around fellow caregivers!  You were already strong enough to #daretocare!  Now, I double dog dare you to care for yourself this year.  Take one more minute in the bathroom to be by yourself it that makes you happy.  Look outside and see the beauty of snow.  Look around and see four walls that are keeping your safe.  Touch the hand of the person next to you, and be joyful you are not alone.  Seek the joy.  Seek the small moments.  Then, please tell me about it below.  Others might need your encouragement too.

-- Jackie

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Thank you for this! I definitely needed a reminder this season! I had a child in my kindergarten with pica. It's an interesting challenge. (Teacher, teacher, \"O\" is eating the tree!) Love to you and your family!