Christmas is strange for me. I never feel more homesick than at this time of year, nor do I feel more guilty. I have an overwhelming desire to give my kids the same kind of Christmas that I experienced as a child, and I just can't.
I'm not just talking about the winter wonderland that was a feature of the season in northern England, such a far cry from the heat of a South African Christmas, but the experience of being around family and friends. Of having those ordinary moments that appear so extraordinary through a child's eyes. The magic of Christmas.
Life as a special needs child is tough. When she role-plays, I'm at once elated that she is developing her pretend play skills, and dismayed that her doll is "going to therapy" day after day. Childhood should be about wonder and magic, not mundane, routine therapy.
So at this time of year, I find it even more important to put the wonder back into her life.
My previous efforts have been far from successful. At the age of 2, she figured out Santa Daddy within seconds. Last year she was sick all Christmas Day, and this year she has already discovered Santa's stash of presents.
With no sensory Santa around these parts, I knew I'd have to work some real magic. Yesterday we hosted a Christmas party at our house, and a member of our community here very graciously made a special appearance.
It was perfect. Pudding was at ease in her own home with us around. She was so excited (and only a tiny bit afraid) to meet Santa, who seemed to know lots about our little girl. She was as comfortable as can be, content to sit in the chair next to him even after he'd delivered the goods.
It isn't going to be a Christmas just like the ones I used to know, but that doesn't mean it won't be every bit as special.
Maybe the marvel of Christmas isn't just for kids. Maybe we parents crave the smile on their delighted faces every bit as much as they desire a Hello Kitty or Thomas The Train toy. The good thing is that those are the presents that can be delivered throughout the year, though they never stop being magical. You just have to believe.
Spectrummy Mummy and family wish you very Happy Holidays, wherever and however you happen to celebrate them.