Friday, December 18, 2009

No picture of Santa

Santa we like you. We don't go all into you like many households but we do like you. You are a fond Christmas memory for me and my husband. You also give us the chance to discuss the One who does "see us when we're sleeping, and knows when we're awake". You give us a chance to talk about the One who gives good and perfect gifts to His children.

I hauled three children to the mall last night with the assistance with my husband. You know the 2 year old and the 4 year old who just had a Christmas party and the 6 year old who babbled on about the Winter break. They were kind of excited.

I know you like to hang out at the mall. I guess you don't realize, Santa, that the mall is not a good place for my family. See, my 6 year old has Autism. There is so much stimulation at the mall. The lights, the sounds, the smell, the 1 million people there. It's kind of crazy. I mean, I get overstiumlated there and I'm considered to be neurotypical. I still don't think I've recovered from loosing Lauren at the mall in Christmas of 2007.

My kids have not always been fans of yours. You probably remember but I have photographic proof. Santa pictures in 2005 and 2006 didn't go so well. I no longer drag my kids up to see you. Very simply, what's fun and amusing when your kid is 2 or 3, just isn't as funny when your kid is 6.

You know Santa, I'm desperately trying to live with one leg in the typical world and one leg in the special needs world. It is a difficult balance to make and one that I fall off of frquently. So, when my 4 year old requests to go see you, we do. It's what typical families do. However, when your 6 year old starts screaming in agony you make promises that she won't have to have anything to do with you. That's what special needs parents do.

We arrive at the mall last night and stand in line. I walk my 4 year old up to you and watch my 6 year old wave to you at a distance. That's what parents of both types of children do.

We were doing well Santa, living in this dual world last night. But, Santa, you made one fatal mistake that I fear has put a damper on our relationship. You, pointed at my 6 year old and said "What's wrong with her? She doesn't want to come see me. A big girl like that?"

It took everything in me to say "Nothing is wrong with her. What's wrong with you?" She's 6 and she has Autism. End of story. Nothing is wrong with her.

I'm think Santa, you may need to sign up for a class in how to interact with people with disabilities. My daughter is among a large and growing group. Kids who look totally typical on the outside but aren't on the inside.

1 comment:

Joy said...

I wish there was a way to email or mail a letter saying just this to the managers of malls everywhere, or whoever is responsible for hiring Santas each Christmas.

I wonder if your local Children's has a Sensitive Santa program like ours does? Or if they'd be open to starting one? Ours is extremely popular for families with children who can't or won't stand in line at the mall.