The holiday season, adorned with twinkling lights, festive decorations, and cheerful melodies, often stirs dreams of joyous family gatherings, laughter-filled celebrations, and picture-perfect moments.
For most of us, the reality of the season unfolds quite differently. Our dreams and desires are often peppered with a fair share of disappointments. Life in 3D, as I call it, invites us to embrace and honor each aspect, creating a holiday experience that is uniquely ours.
Dreams: A Canvas of Possibilities
As parents, we strive to create magical holiday memories. Whether we imagine a harmonious family dinner, picture children joyfully unwrapping presents, engage in festive activities or share quiet, reflective moments amidst the hustle and bustle, the holiday season serves as a canvas where dreams come to life.
Raising neuro-divergent children prompts us to welcome these dreams by fostering an environment where they can thrive. This involves adjusting expectations, finding joy in small victories, and celebrating the unique qualities that make our families special.
As a mom to adults with ADHD, I have learned that those special moments unfold at a pace slightly slower than mine and don't last very long. So, I intentionally prepare to practice patience, watching for those short bursts of joy.
To cultivate your dreams this holiday season:
What expectations will you adjust?
How will you capture the small victories?
What makes your family unique?
Embrace your holiday dreams, savor the moments, and gather cherished memories.
Desires: Nurturing Connection and Understanding
The holiday season stirs our desires—a longing for connection, understanding, and belonging. Recognizing and honoring these desires is essential, using them as a compass to guide your holiday experience.
These desires often center around fostering a sense of belonging and acceptance for our children. Creating an environment where they feel understood and supported will make a significant difference. Consider incorporating sensory-friendly elements into your celebrations, providing a safe space for your child to engage in holiday festivities comfortably.
Nurturing connection can also involve open communication with family and friends about your child's unique needs. Sharing your desires for a supportive and inclusive environment during gatherings can lead to a more understanding and empathetic atmosphere.
Let's do our best to create the foundation for a holiday experience that resonates with warmth and compassion.
Disappointments: Learning and Growing
Amid the dreams and desires, disappointments inevitably find their way into our holiday story. Like an uninvited guest, disappointment often shows up at our carefully planned holiday party.
Feeling frustration and the urge to quickly usher disappointment away is a common reaction, as we fear it could dampen the holiday spirit.
But what if we approached it differently, my friend?
What if we anticipated disappointment's visit, setting a symbolic place for it at our holiday table? It's a shift in perspective that might help us navigate the inevitable bumps in the road with a bit more grace and understanding.
We can do our best to sidestep "major disappointments" by setting clear and realistic expectations and communicating the details of the day or the trip to our children. Still, in the end, there will always be some unforeseen challenge or unmet expectation (ours or theirs) that can throw us off course.
Rather than viewing disappointments as roadblocks, consider them opportunities for learning and growth. When I "prepare" for disappointment, it helps me be present with my child, my partner, or myself, knowing that the wave of emotions will pass, and together, we can come up with new and creative solutions.
Learning to "expect the unexpected" has transformed our disappointments into moments of connection and understanding.
I am not saying it will be easy, but it will be worth it.
Embracing the Reality of the Holidays
As parents of children with ADHD, finding the true magic of the holiday season means embracing the 3D reality of our experience—filled with dreams, desires, and disappointments. By acknowledging and honoring each aspect, you create a holiday experience uniquely tailored to your family's strengths and challenges.
Celebrate the dreams that come to life, nurture the desires that bring you closer as a family, and learn and grow from the inevitable disappointments. Remember that your family's story, with all its twists and turns, is a beautiful and unique masterpiece.
Wishing you a holiday season filled with genuine joy, connection, and the simple magic that comes from embracing every aspect of your family's journey.
With love and gratitude,