The Christmas Tree has left the building…

Christmas was a chore this year…  It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t the easiest Christmas ever either.  J is desperate to go back to school, and until he saw BACKPACK and BUS on his board for next week, he was pretty annoying.  When I say that I mean that he was up at 5 in the morning calling out for COFFEE when we were all just ready to keep sleeping for another hour and a half.  No sooner did I put BACKPACK and BUS on the board last night than we got to sleep in until 8:30 today…  Call it a belated Christmas miracle…we’re taking it as such…

Of course, it helped that last night J got to have some serious hang-out time with TGG.  They went to see Frozen.  They got to eat popcorn.  They went to Five Guys (where J is recognized, for crying out loud, and his order is anticipated because, well, he orders the same thing every single time.)  By the time they got home, the surly kid who hates being at home was chirping happily and we (the mean grown-ups who make his life oh-so-tedious) were pleased to see the results of a little brother-bonding, AND “mom-and-dad alone time.”  It was a win-win situation all around.  No complaints here.

The reason for Christmas being a chore was, mainly, the early start to J’s vacation time.  Dada and I had planned a day off together to relax before the onslaught of togetherness and that didn’t happen, so we were basically thrown into vacation mode without that brief respite we’d hoped for, and J was not particularly pleased with this development either.  We have baked, crafted, hung-out, read stories, and so forth even more than we would want, and J is ready for Thursday and the start of the school’s second semester.

On the plus side: yogurt continues to be a daily thing; J actually sat down and had a celebratory lunch with two people he knows, but who aren’t “family” without so much as a whimper, and Katy Perry continues to be a Prime Mover in his exercise routine.  Today I bought him a pair of “aspirational pants;” that is a smaller size in a style he likes so we can work on wearing those without discomfort over the next few months.    Another interesting development?  J (he who thinks we’re annoying) has missed our company enough to sit down and watch (not necessarily in this order) Bill Murray’s Scrooged, Errol Flynn’s Captain Blood and Alastair Sim’s Scrooge…all these while asking to have the same blanket I have thrown over my shoulders shrouding him and actually paying attention to the movie rather than interrupting our viewing of it…  When I say this is a first, I am not hyperbolizing.  When I say we’ve been warmed to the cockles of our heart by this, I’m not kidding at all.

Yes, Christmas was a chore.  It has to be when hot-flashes and Autism are ruling the roost.  But Christmas also brought some unexpected pleasures: J sitting with us to watch movies in the dining area (where WE usually sit,) or in his TV room (where he usually doesn’t let us linger unless a glue gun and felt are involved); J socializing with acquaintances in a way that denotes an approximation of social niceties previously unheard of from him; J enjoying (yes, yes, yes) movies that we’ve bought him on a whim because, hey, who knows what he might think of them…and now we often find him watching Singin’ in the Rain with the same enthusiasm he used to reserve for things like The Muppet Movie.

I am ready for Thursday.  J is ready for Thursday, too.  This has been one long, climatologically-challenged Christmas break (we had temperatures in the high 60s last weekend,) and we’ve been too close for comfort most of the time (because with disrupted plans comes anxiety which, in turn, breeds OCD that leads, inevitably, to irritation and contempt,) but we’ve managed quite nicely…in spite of the odds.

I’ll tell you the best parts of it: J loves Gene Kelly, and beet chips, and yogurt, and cheeses other than Cheddar, and working on his dry-erase workbooks without us looking over his shoulder, and Nutella, and making cakes from scratch and using a mixer that is not powered by electricity, and he now kisses Ms. Zelda even though he still wants her out of his TV room, and he wants Dada to read The Little Red Caboose, but I get to read Miss Spider’s Tea Party, and we’re sure he’ll love Gentlemen Prefer Blondes when he gets it for Three Kings’ Day, and he argues about the late afternoon family session of exercising in the garage, and Spring Break is only a few months away, but it doesn’t matter because…because…

It all works out in the end.

It really does.

The holidays ARE a chore.  And we open our gifts and laugh at the odd choices, and discover we’ve grown this year, and we’ve learned more about ourselves…and it’s almost a new year with no dentist visits, tantrums, upheaval, disruption, frustration in it…yet…

And it’s been a good and bad and ugly and good and surprising and fun and miserable holiday season, but we’ve spent it together, and J has figured out that if we say “hey, J, get dressed…we’re going in the car!!!” he can say “WHYYYYYYYY????” in a whiny tone and we’ll laugh and tell TGG about it later.  And “OH MAN!” is J’s favorite new expression, and he says it in different ways depending on what he’s trying to convey…joy, annoyance, frustration, boredom, surprise…  And the Twelve Days were fun, but J wasn’t getting all he wanted, and we’ve got some pretty funny photos of him reacting to everyone else getting cool stuff that -to his mind- trumped whatever he was getting…

Yeah…

Christmas was a chore…a fun one…a memorable one…and the year isn’t quite over yet…is it???

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