Discovering Santa … Despite Autism December 24, 2008Posted by hopeauthority in Autism, Children, Parenting.
Tags: asking santa for a present, Autism, Christmas, Girl Scouts, HBOT, holiday, Hyperbaric Oxygen, Parenting, Santa photo
I got my present a little early this year.
It’s been different around our house this year. First of all, so much time (and money) has been spent on ’C's hyperbaric oxygen therapy HBOT that it has added to the stress level around here. Yet on another hand, the HBOT seems to be healing ‘C’ and…as it does that…we are seeing so many miraculous things. Tonight was another example…
This idea I had tonight had all the makings for a Christmas disaster. ‘C’ had already gone through a full day of school…complete with stressful holiday party with all the food he can’t eat and the distribution of his 402 teacher’s gifts. With only 30 minutes of down time after school, he was hustled back into the car and endured the hour and a half in the HBOT tube and the 2 hour roundtrip on the road. But I felt the need to take him to see Santa. Tonight. Right now.
You see, for the first time in, like, forever, ‘C’ seemed to “get” the Santa concept this year. He made a list and spoke of the “35 presents” that Santa was going to bring him (though the list itself had only 5 things on it). He also… on two occasions… said “I gotta go see Santa”. Did he really mean it?
I live about one half mile from the mall. At this time of year, that means about one minute’s hour’s drive to wait on a line for 3 days hours… So, the mall Santa was obviously out of the question. But what about the Santa in the woods? I had to try.
Our Girl Scout Council hosts a Winter Wonderland where you drive through trails in the woods of the campgrounds and look at beautiful light displays. Pile everyone in…its just $12 per carload. But there’s also a Santa photo op if you park the car and go into the main event center.
We arrived in the woods at 8pm..along with the rest of the population of Long Island. ‘C’ was tired and starving and crabbing about wanting to go home. We almost turned around when we saw the long line of cars. So I asked him if he wanted to see Santa or go home. He said “Santa”. Hmmm…
At the first chance, we pulled off the Field of Dreams line and into the nearly-deserted lot of the center where Santa awaited. It was almost closing time on the last night that Santa would be there. Hubby and I exchange pessimistic glances. Surely this thing must be L-A-M-E…
We walked into a magical place. With only one kid ahead of us…Yes, just one kid…not the 257 at the mall wearing stiff frilly clothes… we step up to meet “Santa’s Helper”. He was a wonderful, big man taking the $15 pictures. He immediately engaged ‘C’ by smiling and asking about the small car he was holding. WOW. Things sure have changed since I last tried a photo with Santa about 4 years ago. Have you ever met a nice Santa’s helper before?
Then there was Santa himself. And I mean Santa. This was the real guy. No imposter here. He too engaged ‘C’ right away. No “pity engagement”. It was real and effortless. Warmth oozed out of this jolly guy. Tons of “I’m so glad you came to see me” ‘s. With no hesitation at all. ‘C’ went up to him and stood there enveloped in his arms and took the photo of his life. Then, they encouraged..well actually insisted… that the whole family get in on a photo (no extra charge). Did you hear me… a family photo?
Santa’s helper jingled his bells and got ‘C’ to look at the camera. Through his magic, the photos came out perfect. ‘C’ was relaxed and smiling and looking straight ahead. And.. despite me having “tank hair”, no make-up on, and still being in my scrubs from the HBOT… our family photo came out great too. I’m telling you, there’s magic in those woods.
Hubby and I are standing there waiting for the photos to be developed, barely even able yet to process the moment we were living. Then the real miracle happened…
‘C’ turned around and calmly walked over to Santa (who had not yet taken another kid on) and looked right into Santa’s warm eyes and said:
“I want the Batcave. Please Santa.”
Thank You, God.
Merry Christmas to Everyone! May you all enjoy the magic of this season.