mommy4autism

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Halloween

on October 28, 2011

Growing up, we didn’t do so much in the way of decorating for holidays. Well, more appropriately, I should say that, before the age of 10, my mom had boxes of decorations for each holiday that we used to pull out and get festive with, and my parents used to go to Holiday parties & stuff.  But I was 8 when my parents got divorced, and, as I grew older, the decorations got fewer and fewer over the holidays, Christmas included. I think it must have hurt my mom to have so many memories of family holidays (they were, after all, married for 20 years)…and so we just stopped really doing much decorating or overdone celebration of anything, really.

We did try to have a decent Thanksgiving once, but it turned out all wrong, which we laugh about. Not to mention any time we had a traditional dinner forced on us it was just stressful and thankless. After a while, we simply opted to have pizza for Thanksgiving.

As I got older, my mom started traveling a lot and sometimes she was gone over the holidays. I stayed home, usually to work, since I got time & a half on holidays at my retail job at the mall.  My senior year of High school, I insisted on a tree, so I went out and bought a little tiny tree and decorated it. Then, that Christmas morning, I went to a movie by myself.

For a long time, I was okay with that. Holidays & birthdays were a frame of mind – they don’t absolutely have to be celebrated on the actual day of the holiday – do they?

See, I love Halloween. I’m not sure why, it’s just always been one of my favorite holidays…and it’s not just about the candy, I swear!  I think that I’ve just always loved any excuse to dress up and be someone else for a while…it’s probably why I got so into drama in High School!  My brother and I used to go to the pumpkin places and try to find the saddest looking pumpkins to rescue, since we knew no one else would want them…

Well, 3 days ago I had all my family together.  By all my family, I mean I actually had my husband, stepdaughter, and son all together in one place – our home. My autistic son was doing his little rambling thing that he does sometimes, but this time he said very loudly, “Halloween!”  And that was enough for me.  If my son is starting to understand holidays, I want him to know what fun is involved when you’re a kid during the holidays!  I was excited; I took the kids to pick out pumpkins, and by gosh, we were going to carve those things as a family!

Well, we ran out of time. Alex was fussy, he wouldn’t sit. Harmony didn’t care to engage in anything (teenager), and my husband was exhausted from work. Okay, no problem, I thought – we’ll carve tomorrow night.

So 2 days ago I was supermom, and I decided it was family activity time!  Now, my stepdaughter had, unfortunately, already returned to her mom’s house, so I was down a family member.  And then my husband was resisting. To make a very long story short, he didn’t feel like carving a pumpkin, and I didn’t feel like forcing someone to do something they didn’t want to do. So I carved a pumpkin.  My son expressed a small amount of interest, but lost it very quickly.  But at least he played with his trains next to me while I worked.

Yesterday I lost hope. 2 pumpkins remained, untouched. An old box of Halloween decorations gathering cobwebs in the shed. Another holiday to go unnoticed.

And then I thought to myself. Why? Why should it go unnoticed?  Because Alex doesn’t fully understand it yet?  Because it’s not important to my stepdaughter or my husband or the rest of my world? Well, screw that, it’s important to me. And I think it will be important to Alex someday. He sees more than we think he does, I know it. So I walked my butt out to that shed and I braved the nasty spiders and scary things (is there a term for a phobia of sheds??), and I got out those decorations and I decorated my house with every Halloween adornment I could find.

And then I personally carved those 2 remaining pumpkins. And guess what? Alex likes the little ghost lights that blink. And every time he walks out the front door & back, he stares long and hard at those pumpkins. And he plays with the funny little stuffed ghosties and ghoulies on the couch. And he says “Halloween.”  And I say, “Yes, baby, Halloween!”

And that makes it all worthwhile.

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