The kids are back to school today after their two weeks Christmas holidays. School bags packed, uniforms ready, smiling faces and an opportunity to reflect on the last two weeks. We had Christmas and New Year and also Noah’s 5th birthday so it has been eventful!
I love Christmas, I love the family time, the magic, the warmth and the excitement it brings with it. But it can also bring some anxiety. I can’t help but be brought back to 5 years ago when Noah was born. Our holiday cheer and overwhelming excitement were overshadowed by the news that our beautiful little boy has an intellectual disability.
But that did not happen this year. In fact, when I reflect on the holidays, I saw some beauty this year that I had not taken the time to see before. We celebrated Christmas with family and Anna and Noah got to spend Christmas with their two small cousins. On Christmas Eve, the kids couldn’t take their eyes off the pile of presents in the corner and couldn’t wait to tear them open and reveal what was inside. But not Noah. He didn’t even glance in their direction.
When the moment finally came to approach the presents, Anna and her 2 year old cousin were beside themselves with excitement. They couldn’t stand still. Voices in higher pitches, Christmas songs in the background, little feet dancing around the colourful pile of treats, they were full of delight!
Noah didn’t really take part in the anticipation but he followed along with the group. He was handed his first present and opened it to reveal a baby born boy doll with bottle, nappies, potty and feeding bowl. His face lit up with happiness, he called out all the contents of the pack (with lovely clear words!!) and we opened it up so he could cuddle his doll. He gave his Nana and Grandad a huge thank you hug and left the room to go play with his doll. His sister shouted after him that he had lots more presents to open but he was happy. He wanted to play with his doll, enjoy the wonder it brought and he had no interest in anything else.
The rest of us continued to excitedly tear presents open for the rest of the evening while Noah played happily with his doll.
The next morning came and the wonder of Santa. None of us slept through all the excitement. Myself and Anna were up on numerous occasions to look out the window and see if there was any sign of him. It was magical and I couldn’t help but feel a little sad that Noah would not take part. Morning came and we ran down the stairs to find out if anything had arrived. Again, the excited frenzy started. Presents being torn open, kids faces of wonder and delight, screams of surprise as each package was opened.
Noah was hovering in the background. Eventually he approached the pile of presents and opened the first one. It was Woody from Toy Story. Again, the look of delight and pure pleasure as he ran off with his new toy brought so much warmth that any sadness I felt the previous evening was taken swiftly away. He left all his remaining presents in a pile.
Noah spent the entire morning playing with Woody and his new baby doll. Later in the day, he approached the presents again to reveal a beautiful wooden train set from Santa. He was thrilled. He took time to explore all the things his new presents could do. He sat on the floor building his train set with his Dad. He watched cartoons with his toys on either side of him, he wandered the house with Woody in his hand introducing him to everything he already had. It was plenty and he was happy.
In the meantime, his sister and cousin were running around in overwhelmed excitement. Trying to play with everything they had received. Lots of new toys sat in the corner to be discovered later, they had so much and were so overexcited that they couldn’t take it all in.
Noah has an incredible ability to take every moment as it comes. He lives in the now. He takes what is in front of him and explores and enjoys it while it’s there. It can be very frustrating considering the rest of us move at such a fast pace. But it is also incredibly beautiful and humbling.
I sometimes feel that while the world around us is moving so fast, we are cruising along on the slower train. The train is moving through the countryside at a much slower pace and it stops in every town & village. Some of the towns and landscapes are incredibly beautiful and we would miss out on them if we were on the faster and more convenient train. Sometimes we are in a hurry, we get frustrated because it’s taking so long to get to our destination. Some of the stops are not so pretty or exciting and we have no choice but to stay there until the train moves on. But the train does move on, we do get to our destination and the next stop will be more fun, more fulfilling and more beautiful then we expected.
The rest of Noah’s Christmas presents were slowly explored. He opened the last two presents on the morning of his birthday party on Saturday the 7th January. Of course, like his sister, he got way too much but on this occasion he has outsmarted us. Who else can turn two days of presents and excitement into two full weeks of non stop joy and excitement? Only challenge is he will now be expecting Christmas every day!!