Holidays can be rough.
They throw off every routine that children thrive from. Everything is louder. There are new noises. There are a lot more people around. There are new smells. There is waiting. There are uncomfortable dress clothes. There’s bright lights everywhere.
We haven’t actually celebrated our Christmas at home yet, the boys celebrated at their father’s this year. They just arrived back home yesterday and we set off today to a Christmas party at my parents’.
It wasn’t long before Brian was lying on the floor covering his eyes and crying and knocking over items near him. I sat on the floor and he climbed on to my lap. Grammie kindly asked all the other kids to calm down and to respect Brian’s needs as he was starting to feel overwhelmed. His cousins asked him if he needed anything and stepped back when they realized they didn’t have anything that would help. His aunt rubbed his head while I rubbed his back. No one was annoyed or angry at him for his outbursts, they all understood and wanted nothing more than for him to feel better within his body.
And I thought, “This is nice.” Right there in the middle of the meltdown I actually thought, “This is nice”.
See, autism isn’t ever going to go away. Parts get better and easier but it’s not going anywhere. So to have such a big family and support system around us that understands it and respects Brian and loves him no matter what, means the world to me. If that meltdown had happened in a crowd of people who didn’t respect Brian and love him and understand him, it would’ve become a very upsetting situation for all of us.
About 30 minutes later he was able to gather himself and smile again. Everyone was ready to play with him. His cousins wrestled with him. His aunt took selfies with him. He shared some gluten-free cookies with his cousin and aunt who share the same intolerance. He jumped on his Grandpa’s back and laughed. He wore his brother’s fake mustache and hammed it up for everyone. And everyone laughed and smiled…and they loved him then just as much as they loved him when he was upset. And I truly appreciate, love, and thank you all for that.