Don’t get me wrong I love Christmas and have since I was a child, but unfortunately this time of year no longer seems to agree with our family. For the past few years, I have crashed at this point due to a build up of viruses taking their toll on my body. This year, it is the turn of our youngest son, who has been on a nebuliser twice since Thursday, is now starting his second lot of antibiotics and appears to be in a constant state of anxiety.
Things that he can normally cope with doing like going to have his hair cut are causing him a heightened level of stress. He is digging his heels in far more often than normal about not wanting to do things. In his words, ‘life is not normal’ and he wants things to resume a normal pattern as soon as possible.
Fortunately, the stress of performing in his class Christmas play has been removed this year and instead of rehearsing he has been doing a project on pets, which he is enjoying due to the recent arrival of our puppy, Ludo.
Putting up our Christmas tree has not been discussed yet – it doesn’t normally occur until the kids have begun the school holidays, but with Ludo chewing everything in sight, it is unlikely that a tree will go up this year. I don’t think I can take the stress of removing an ornament/tree branch from Ludo’s mouth every few seconds of the day! We may compromise and have a small tree on the large bay window sill we have in the living room, so that our other two children are happy that something is up. They are concerned there will be nothing for their presents to be put under!! Our daughter has had a Christmas tree in her bedroom since the end of November and is a good way to ensure her youngest brother does not enter her room.
Visually, our youngest son is getting a lot of pleasure from the Christmas lights that are being adorned on people’s homes and loves to take a drive in the dark to see the lights. It would be a different story if they were in our home, as he would not like the change to the outside of our house, but he is happy to see other houses lit up, which is a step forward.
Each year we will make small steps like this and although we may not have a conventional family Christmas – we don’t have people visit over Christmas, our youngest son prefers not to have his presents wrapped up, presents are spread over a few days, rather than all being given on Christmas Day, Christmas dinner will consist of whatever everyone will eat, rather than conforming to turkey – we are happy and slowly building up our own family Christmas traditions. As long as our three children have a smile on their faces and enjoy Christmas in their way, we can’t ask for more as parents.
Do what works for you as a family, rather than doing what you think the world expects you to do.