So, let me tell you about last Christmas.
My beautiful baby boy, at the tender age of ten still believed in Santa.
The innocence he still held onto warmed my heart and I knew the reality was that by next Christmas he would know the sad truth. Yes, that’s right, by next year he would know that his parents, who always told him to tell the truth had been lying to him for years!
It was Christmas Eve, we had “popped round” to see my best friend and her family which resulted in several rather pleasant glasses of bubbles.
On returning home, my mum joined us, she wanted to wake up with my children on Christmas morning, to experience their joy and excitement.
My husband in his infinite wisdom, wanted to keep the children up a little later, in the hope they would sleep in.
All I can say is the flu he was suffering from must have affected his rational thinking. Surely he would realise that Christmas morning children awoke early regardless of their bedtime!
Determined that I too would have a decent amount of sleep, after all I was hosting Christmas lunch for nine people the next day, I went to bed at the same time as the children.
My head had barely hit the pillow when my son came in.
“Mummy do you think Santa has already been?”
My son was wide awake and quite frankly, appeared anxious.
I reassured him that he hadn’t been and he needed to go to sleep because Santa only came to houses where children are asleep.
So off he went back to bed and I settled down to sleep… or so I thought.
Alas, my son came in to my bedroom on an hourly basis throughout the night. I honestly don’t think he slept at all that night apart from the hour I got into bed with him.
If I had been sensible I would have stayed in his bed, but I was uncomfortable so had crawled back to my own bed…. big mistake!
At 5.50am my son came in and insisted it was time to get up, his seven year old sister was not impressed and I am pretty sure that my mum would not be asking to stay around again on Christmas Eve in a hurry.
So between my flu ridden husband and my sleep deprivation, Christmas day was hard work and for the first time ever I can honestly say that I was glad when it was over.
“But why was my son so unsettled? He had never been this bad before. Of course he had in previous years struggled to get to sleep and maybe had woken up too early only to be told to go back to bed but this was something else. The simple truth was that he was anxious.”
He was anxious that he was going to get a bike, something we had discussed over the previous weeks.
He didn’t want to have a bike, he wanted something for his PlayStation.. a VR headset.
He was worried, anxious that he would be disappointed.
He was also sadly anxious about Christmas day itself. My sister and her family were coming for Christmas lunch and two weeks prior they had been over for my daughter’s birthday.
On this occasion my son was really struggling with it being his sister’s birthday and his behaviour was less than perfect.
My sister and brother-in-law unfortunately struggle to understand my son and his needs so tried to cheer him up by teasing him.
Sadly when my boy is spiralling out as he was this is the worst thing that someone can do. In fact only my husband and I could get away with this and have a positive outcome!!
“The result of this was my son was rude to his aunt and uncle, and for people who firstly do not understand his additional needs and secondly remember a time when my son didn’t display signs of autism therefore struggle to believe and understand his diagnosis it caused tension.”
And my son was aware (as he always is after the event) of this.
But this year will be different, if you follow my blog you may have read “Daddy, The Destroyer of Childhood Innocence”
Yes, that’s right my son (courtesy of my husband) no longer “Believes” (or does he?!)
I am hoping against all hope that I will get a good nights sleep this year, there will be no worrying about a big man in a red suit coming into our house and leaving something my son doesn’t want.
But I feel a little wistful that for him, the magic has gone…
Sharon blogs about the ins and outs of living with anxiety and depression; plus, the tales of motherhood to her 11-year-old autistic son and her 7-year-old daughter.