Special needs parents are particularly susceptible to having a case of holiday blues.
And sometimes it has nothing at all to do with the holiday season itself.
While, yes parents sometimes have a difficult time finding age and skill appropriate gifts for their child with special needs and balancing holiday activities, events and traditions, for most special needs parents holiday blues come from a place of compounded stress and worry added to an already difficult set of daily circumstances.
The holiday season in essence just throws us over the edge.
We have a multitude of feelings that we often keep concealed and bottled up so that we can give everything we have to our care and assistance our children need.
Our feelings overflow into wishes and dreams, and most importantly hopes for that Christmas miracle.
During the holiday season we feel hope and possibilities often stronger than we do any other time of the year.
We yearn for a cure, for healing, for help and understanding.
Our wishes are also in full force as we yearn to be able to attend a family holiday party, but can’t because our child has severe sensory processing disorder, or for our child to be able to consume a chocolate Santa when they can’t eat orally, or our child to have the ability to rattle off all of their toy dreams to Santa when they are non-verbal.
We have this fantasy of how the holidays should be, which is so very different from how they generally are when you have a child with special needs.
It’s a lot like hearing that one song that unexpectedly comes on the radio that can bring you to your knees and make you cry a heap of tears out of nowhere.
You didn’t even see it coming.
Our feelings can catch us off guard.
One minute we’re fine, the next minute we’re sobbing hysterically on the floor wondering what the purpose of it all is.
The last thing we’re thinking about is baking Christmas cookies or wrapping presents with exquisite bows and delicate labels.
We’re just trying to get through it the best way we know how.
But there are some things that can ease the holiday blues for special needs parents:
- Think about sending them a food gift-basket so they don’t have to worry about meals or snacks.
- Leave a Secret Santa present for their family anonymously at their door to remind them that their community and neighbors are thinking of them.
- Check on them. Just call and ask how they are doing.
- Offer to help them with Christmas cards, wrapping gifts, and shopping errands.
- Volunteer to assist them with decorations in their home, as it’s often hard to decorate their homes with cheer while caring for their child’s daily living and medical needs.
The smallest random acts of holiday kindness can make the world of difference for a special needs parent who is battling with a touch of the holiday blues. It can be less overwhelming if you don’t feel alone.