Sensational Christmas Miracles
Until I had my miracle girl, Jaimie, I went crazy trying to make Christmas perfect. I spent days baking goodies, doing up the tree, preparing the house in festive decorations, then even more hours creating a delectable feast. It was stressful, exhausting and I never really got to enjoy all the fun going on in the next room. After I had Jaimie, though, those days and hours of creating perfection disappeared.
Jaimie didn’t like flashing lights or brightly colored decorations or a big tree sitting in the middle of our living room. She couldn’t handle the noise, the smells or the changes to the usual routine. And it took her many days after the big day to get over it. In fact, if we didn’t put our tree away the day after Christmas, she’d continue having sensory meltdowns until it was put away. And Santa? Forget about it. Even mentioning his name caused her distress. It was heartbreaking.
All I wanted to do was make the holidays perfect for my child, but her little body couldn’t handle anything about it. Then one Christmas, Jaimie reminded me in her own special way why we actually celebrate this glorious day.
When I was young, my grandfather hung a beautiful brass bell up on his mantle, right beside our stockings. It had a thick woven golden rope tied into a sparkly tassel on the end. There were three angels on its body: their wings spread wide, each holding a harp at her waist. The best part was winding the music key and hearing “Silent Night”. It played fast at first then gradually slowed down until the winding key stopped. The golden flames of the fire glowing from the fireplace waved across the angels making it appear they danced in time to the music. I rewound it over and over until my grandfather said, “Make that the last one, Dumplin’. Or you’ll tire ‘em out before Christmas Day.”
After my grandfather passed away, I was given the precious bell. I hadn’t brought it out before because music of that pitch seemed to bother Jaimie. Since she’d been doing well with her auditory therapy that year, I decided to introduce it to her. As I unwrapped it from the bubble wrap, she was immediately entranced.
“Mama,” she said, staring at the bell with her big ocean-blue eyes. “Can I hang it up? I know a good spot.”
I handed it to her, with a gentle warning to use both hands, and she hung it up on the mantle, right beside her stocking. “Wind it up?” she asked, noticing the key on the bottom.
“Only if you think it won’t hurt your ears.”
She wound it up as tight as she could, then stood back and listened. Once the music stopped, Jaimie turned around and, to my surprise, gave me a hug. She’d been brave enough to give me one a few months earlier but they came so few and far between due to her extremely high tactile issues I treasured them when they were given. As I wrapped my arms around her tiny body, she said, “Thanks, Mama. The angels’ singing makes my insides happy.”
After that, I realized that’s all that matters. Who cares if the entire house isn’t spic-and-span? What does it matter if it takes over a week to get all the decorations and the tree up? And do we really need fifty different kinds of treats? What was most important, what makes Christmas perfect, is what each of us contribute to the holiday in our own way. And for our exceptional children, this is so important. The rest of the year, they are constantly reminded of what their struggles are. During this glorious time of year, they can simply be the miracles they are, and shine.
My grandparents had always made Christmas perfect for me, no matter what else went on around us. It was perfect because they loved me. That’s all I needed. And it’s the same with our little miracles. We may never completely understand why they were given to us, but I think it’s because we need them as much as they need us. They teach us to be strong and remind us, each and every day, that we can never take things for granted. They don’t.
So, as Christmas Day draws near, then comes, take a little time to celebrate your exceptional miracle and celebrate all that they are: Perfect in their own way.
Chynna Laird – is a psychology major, freelance writer and multi award-winning author living in Edmonton, Alberta with her partner, Steve, and their three daughters Jaimie, Jordhan, and Sophie and son, Xander. Visit her at www.lilywolfwords.ca
Photo coutesy scottfeldstein on Flickr
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This post originally appeared on our November/December 2012 Magazine