I am trying to stay in denial that "the holidays" are just around the corner. My holiday season actually begins back in September when my husband's birthday kicks off a monthly cascade of big events that I never feel quite prepared for...Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmast, all three kids birthdays, Valentine's Day...then I can breathe. I guess we've made it through the first two events, but those are just the lead up to the big hitters. I'm not completely following a holiday theme with this post, but I guess in some attempt to get myself in the spirit (read panic) of the season, I'll point you to the following links:
Holidays/Family or Social gatherings in general:
1) It seems like the holidays often make a perfect storm for hurtful comments and the ensuing havoc on personal relationships. This article helped me think about some ways to respond and offers advice on what to say "instead" of hurtful (even if well-intentioned) comments.
2) One thing I'm thankful is around for my child today: Matteo's Dream playground, right here in our area. A while ago I blogged about a park like this up in Seattle. A friend of mine who helps organize Buddy Play invited us to attend an event at Matteo's Dream to make me aware of this special park just 20 minutes up the road for us. We went and of course my daughter loved it. She would live at a park if we'd let her, and one of her best buddies was there to boss around. One point that I hadn't considered before about a completely accessible playground is that parents or grandparents with physical challenges can more easily interact with their children, too. I saw a grandmother there with her motorized scooter and she was able to keep tabs on the child she was supervising.
3) One thing I'm thankful will be around for my child in the future: Capernaum, a ministry of Young Life that reaches out to special needs students. A friend of mine told me about this ministry some time ago, and this article jogged my memory. This story is specifically about a Capernaum group starting in Tempe, AZ. You can find out more about Capernaum at large here.
4) Some quotes and ideas about keeping the focus of Thanksgiving on gratitude, not turkey. I do not theologically agree with all of the sources of these quotes, or even with all of the quotes, but the goal of remembering that Thanksgiving should be about giving thanks is key.
Preparing for Christmas:
5) This year Advent begins on November 29 - the Sunday after Thanksgiving. I think Advent can be an excellent way to keep the focus of Christmas on Christ rather than the presents under the tree. This article gives some suggestions of ways to celebrate Advent with your child. I think they could be easily adapted to special needs children. I'm hoping to try one of the calendar ideas with my daughter. I'll let you know how it goes...