Santa did not Bring my Nonverbal Son’s Voice

Every time I go through a “grieving phase” of autism I always think it will be my last, or at least I always hope it is.

However, emotions are fluid, and thus like waves in the ocean it never dies.

I find that holidays are always a stressor for the grieving process. It truly is hard to let go of what you thought your life would have been like prior to the diagnosis of autism.

I think it’s hard for people who aren’t going through this to understand that. It’s never about the gifts or all that holiday cheer. It’s so much more then what’s at the surface.

A lot of what goes into the holidays for a child is the leading up to it…the anticipation. We had spent almost 2 months talking about Santa and Christmas traditions with our neurotypical 3 year old, Landon. This was the first year he really understood the concept of Santa.

His Christmas looked a lot like my childhood Christmas; circling toys he wanted in magazines, leaving cookies out for Santa, and being excited with every gift that he opened.

To my son, Zachary, with nonverbal autism, it’s just another day.

He doesn’t understand Christmas, Santa, no interest in toys, especially the idea of opening one that is wrapped. With all that is different, those aren’t even the things that bother me anymore.

My expectations of all holidays have changed.

I have learned to say no a lot more for different Christmas gatherings or parties. If it doesn’t really fit into our routine then it’s just not going to work.

I have learned that this is fine. My children were happy this holiday season, and no one had meltdown. Zachary was comfortable, and everyone in life should be able to feel safe, all the time.

What hurt this year was hearing my 3 year old tell everyone “Merry Christmas.” Zachary has never even said “mama” and the idea of him saying “Merry Christmas” seems terribly far away…if even possible.

Although Zachary is working on his communication device, nothing really seems to pain my heart in any other way then hearing my other son talk and Zachary not talking.

It honestly gets harder and harder as the years go by. And hope seems to fade a little more and a realistic expectation sets forth into our world.

Santa may have not brought Zachary’s voice this year, but he did bring the fact that Zachary was able to sit and try to open up presents this year, was able to stand near the dinner table (with a smile on his face) while we all ate, and no meltdowns.

We were surrounded by family that has patience and loves us unconditionally, so whether it was said or not… we had a Merry Christmas.

Written by, Melissa Owsiany

I’m a nurse, wife and mom to two wonderful boys Zachary, who has autism, and Landon.

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Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our newsletter.

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  • Susan Anderson

    January 8, 2019 at 9:03 am
    Reply

    Melissa, The reoccurring theme I read in these articles is the grief we feel. As an autie parent myself, it is strangely comforting. I know I'm […] Read MoreMelissa, The reoccurring theme I read in these articles is the grief we feel. As an autie parent myself, it is strangely comforting. I know I'm not alone. I can tell by the smiles on your faces, that Zachary was born in the right family. Please know that you are loved. Read Less

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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