The most wonderful time of the year
Days with Belle, General

The most wonderful time of the year

Like many other families, we find this time of year to be especially busy. Not only do we have the holiday season among us, but we also have many birthdays to celebrate, as well. As much as we enjoy getting together with family and celebrating those holidays and birthdays, it also causes a lot of stress.

Now, a majority of the time these gatherings occur at what we consider to be Belle’s happy places. Those happy places are the locations that we can take Belle to at any given time and we don’t have to worry about meltdowns (for the most part). Her happy places include: grandma and grandpa’s, her cousin’s houses, and the Target toy section.

The get-togethers that I am beginning to dread are those that take place at new locations, or restaurants. The ones that include people outside of our immediate family, who don’t necessarily “get it” or take place in a public spot where it seems like there are hundreds of eyes watching you. Our family always encourages us to bring Belle along, and sometimes we do.

It’s different for us, though. It’s physically and emotionally exhausting to attempt to have Belle attend these events. It stresses me out. It stresses my husband out. And, it stresses Belle out. When we are all stressed out, none of us are enjoying what is supposed to be a good time.

Sometimes, we choose to have my husband or I stay home with Belle and miss out on these special events. My family tends to get together more often so my husband is usually the one who has to miss out. It’s extremely disappointing walking out the door alone–again. It’s unfair that I have to pretend to believe my husband when he says he doesn’t mind missing out–again.

Those times we choose to attend, it usually consists of one of us following Belle around on one of her nature walks while everyone else is inside spending time together. Many times it doesn’t seem to matter whether we go or not, because Belle is always wanting to do her own thing.

Although I love this time of year, there is a part of me that also dreads it. The most wonderful time of the year is not always the most wonderful for us. Our reality is different from most everyone we know. There are things that we don’t get to experience as a family, there are things that we have to do differently, and there are things we simply can’t do at all–because of autism.

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