Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree (at Hopeful Parents)
This post was originally published at Hopeful parents. You can find the link here.
For Pudding’s first Christmas, I began a new tradition of collecting Christmas ornaments from the various places we visited. Over the first couple of years of her life, we picked them up from Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, and France. I particularly like the handmade wooden ones from that part of the world, and we enjoyed traveling to the Christmas markets in search of new ones.
Like many other families, following Pudding’s ASD diagnosis, our lives were forever changed. Instead of moving on to another country, we decided to remain in the US for a tour to learn all we could about the various therapies and supports she needs. Now there is no budget for travel. The only place we have been as a family in the last year and a half is to Florida to visit family. I thought my ornament collection would dwindle to a halt, but I was wrong.
This year Pudding helped me to decorate the tree. As placed each one on the tree, I told her the story of each one. What I didn’t realize until then, was that I’d unwittingly started a second collection of ornaments. I unwrapped a Bambi ornament, the nickname we’d given her before she was born. Next came a “Where the Wild Things” ornament we’d bought back when she insisted upon hearing that story every night before bed. Then last year, we’d got her a Sleeping Beauty ornament when that became her special interest. One day over the summer at a craft fair I even found an ornament with Bashful. All the special interests my girl has ever had our hanging proudly from our tree. This year I’m going to have to find an ornament with Sesame Street’s Ernie for Pudding, and a train for her brother.
It occurred to me then that our Christmas tree is still telling our story, it is just a different journey now. This weekend we had a party, and as an activity I helped the children make Christmas tree ornaments. Even a year ago Pudding wouldn’t have had the fine motor skills or patience for such a task, but with a lot of help, she made her own ornament. I’m going to hang it proudly on our Christmas Tree.
That ornament tells the best story of all.