We’re a long way down this path now, BD (before diagnosis) seems a lifetime ago, when we were floundering around, not knowing how to cope, what to do for the best.
Now, we are a much happier family. A unit again.
It didn’t come over night, but know we know them the answer seems simple.
Put us first.
At Christmas though that is hard. There are so many other people around, friends and family, work colleagues, school friends, neighbours. But when you realise that if you put your family first it does all click into place.
Our extended family has grown and changed since BD. We have small nephews to consider and an elderly Great Nanna to take into account, a sister who is getting hormonal herself and struggling to remember why we function the way we do and even though they don’t like to admit it, my mum and dad are getting older and need different things.
My friend Sarah has been helped tremendously, she has been teaching me all about the ‘zero fox given’ type of lifestyle which can help you let go of unnecessary obligations. This Christmas was most definitely more of that about.
I didn’t worry about what the kids ate, what they wore or even where they were over Christmas. And my relaxed attitude to all of this really helped everyone to relax and a have a good time.
In fact it went further than that, because I wasn’t forcing anyone to do anything, they actually chose to anyway and we ended up spending more time together than usual.
So how do you get around that with all of those other people to consider?
Be up front with them, share your needs with your family and friends and work out a plan. Explain to them that your child isn’t being rude, they just need their own space. That they will come back and eat when they are ready. Share your plan for the day, you don’t have to justify what and why you are doing, but it really helps. It makes people feel included.
Then let go of all the preconceived ideas of how we SHOULD spend Christmas. If you are religious it doesn’t state in the bible that everyone has to be dressed to celebrate, I know they 3 Kings wore fancy clothes but the shepherds rocked up in their dirty, smelly work gear! If you are not religious Santa is not going to put you on the naughty list for not giving everyone a kiss goodbye.
If you want to stay in your pjs all day, do it. It you want to eat junk food instead of turkey roast, definitely do that! If your kids need time upstairs to recharge, let them. If you need to leave early because it is all too much, do so. Chances are other people want to do that as well and are just waiting for someone else to suggest it.
H has worn a bobble hat pretty much constantly for the last 5 days. If that’s what works, maybe we should all try it?
Have you got any extra tips that worked for you this year? Please share them in the comments.