“Mum, what am I getting for Christmas?” A guest post.

Today’s guest post is written by an awesome Momma Bear friend of ours…

Here’s Terrie’s build up to Christmas…

 

Last Tuesday my boy went back to school after Half-Term, when I picked him up he was visibly tense and had already gotten into a fight with his sister about who was sitting in the middle seat in the car (even though it was her turn, and he knew it.) I was expecting it to be honest, the first day back is always tough, especially when it’s the Autumn Term. After a minute or two of driving he shifted in his seat and blurted out ‘Mum, what am I getting for Christmas?’ Now for most kids this sentence would be said with optimism and enthusiasm but my boy’s question was neither of those things… it came out with a wave of anxiety that I felt from the driver’s seat… horrible, negative emotion that had no doubt been building for a while. I could see in my rear view mirror that he was chewing the collar of his jumper and ‘drumming’ with his hands on his lap whilst he waited for my answer… but some things just can’t be addressed when I’m driving and I told him he would have to wait.

See, every year we go through this, my boy wants to know what his presents will be long, long before I’ve even thought about buying them. The truthful answer to his question is ‘look, mum hasn’t had time to think about what’s for dinner tonight never mind what is going in your stocking. I’ve been in work all day, I didn’t sleep very well last night and I’m sure we were supposed to be doing something on Saturday but I didn’t write it down and so it’s been bugging me all day.’ But of course… I couldn’t say any of those things so we sat in an awkward silence until we got home.

The minute we were out of the car the questions came fast and furious. They covered everything from food, presents, schedules (ours and everybody else’s) and decorations. Even though I sat with him that Tuesday evening and answered them all in great detail, they have been repeated almost daily since then. What am I getting? Where are we going? Are the plans still the same? The boy has rarely left my side, the physical contact has increased, the tears have come often and his stutter is worse than it has been for a long time. It truly is ‘the season’ and we can’t wait until it’s over.

For me Autumn has become a time of being over-protective. It’s a time to keep my boy close, to turn down all unnecessary engagements, to keep the routine as normal as possible and to hug, kiss and love as much as I physically can. It’s the time of year that tests me, it calls for extra patience, extra kindness and extra strength… all of which can be draining and difficult when you work full time and have another child who equally needs attention and love…

Although our Autumn is certainly more delicate than others’, I remind myself constantly that the more open and honest I am with others, the easier it is to find our rhythm during this time. My boy’s anxiety is only just beginning to build and it will no doubt escalate over the coming weeks

Every day I pray and share our struggles with family and friends, in the confidence that they too will help and support him with me to ensure that he doesn’t just survive the season but that he thrives as much as he can within it.

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