Thanksgiving came and went. It turned out to be a very nice Thanksgiving in that Karen got the night off, thanks to a co-worker’s need to have Friday night off. That meant even though she would only get about 4 hours sleep, we wouldn’t have to rush through an early Thanksgiving dinner before she she would have had to go to work that night. Those handful of hours of the holiday that she didn’t have to work is a big deal for us. To all be home, being together is perhaps the one absolute bonus for our family. I know Karen was glad to be home, and we were glad to have her home for the day too. Next year Nick might be away at college, and even though he would theoretically come home for holidays and most weekends, it just gives us a greater appreciation of being together as a family.
We watched the Thanksgiving Day Parade and saw Santa; something we try to do every year. We had a terrific holiday dinner! We were even able to go to my sister-in-law’s house for coffee and dessert; something we hadn’t planned for this Thanksgiving. Mike likes going to “Cousin Joseph’s”, whom he still occasionally calls “Baby Joseph” because he helped pick out a gift of baby clothes for him after he was born.
Thanksgiving, or rather that time after Halloween is over until Christmas comes is a very tricky time for Mike, at least it has been in the past. For many years, this time brought out the anxiety in him; sometimes manifesting in crankiness, other times to outright meltdowns. Maybe the frenzy of the holiday season would get to him; seeing one TV ad after another exclaiming Christmas would soon be here, so get your ____ now! Patience and delaying gratification is a big deal in our family, as it is with many families on the Spectrum. Also, during this time, schools tend to get classes together to practice for a winter concert, etc. With Mike, it’s only been since last year that he began tolerating the auditorium crowd/holiday music thing without covering his ears.
He has improved with his holiday tolerance over the last 2-3 years, something that I think his old school (the Rosemary Kennedy School) addressed and made great strides in. Now that he’s at another school, I fear that which parents of autistic children always fear: regression. He has already started with the barrage of “I can’t go to school” everyday. For the most part, we have been able to talk through it, and he works out his anxiety before and during school by drawing in his notebook. He has not asked to bring additional comfort items with him to school, so the fingers and toes remain crossed.
‘Tis the season for the unveiling of the Christmas letter to Santa as well; and if previous years were any indication, this year’s should eventually be a doozie. I say eventually because even though we are only 4 days removed from Thanksgiving, Mike is already up to version 1.2 of his letter/wish list. He might be up to Chapter 3 by the time I get home from work today…. Now I’m getting an anxiety attack….