2014 Military Special Needs Network Holiday Guide Winter 2014 - Page 25

he Holidays are coming! The

Holidays are coming! If Paul

Revere were alive today would the colonial militia officer retreat when he saw the masses ready themselves for Christmas? Would Black Friday cause him to surrender?

As I ask myself if my expectations for the perfect Christmas are realistic or even attainable, I start to dream...of warm family gatherings; everyone healthy and happy; having had a prosperous year; all prayers answered the way I think they should be answered, of course; the perfect gifts for everyone. The most beautifully set table, straight out of Currier & Ives, with wonderous centerpieces made to pull it all together. The food...oh, the food! I can smell it cooking. And the Christmas tree placed in the perfect spot, adorned with ornaments, lights twinkle brightly, as magical as a newly fallen blanket of snow: untouched, bright and beautiful. Sigh.

See? Very normal expectations!

I know there is a reality button around here somewhere. Probably behind the perfect poinsettia plant. Here it is!

This is reality.

I am Grandma Sharon to six beautiful grandchildren. Two of my grandchildren have special needs. The daily challenges they face could fatigue the most committed yogi. And these challenges prove to be a formidable foe for mom, dad, siblings, teachers, therapists, and medical staff.

Mornings start early. Sleep always interrupted. My weary and blurried eyed family will start another day, ready or not. They must adhere to a strict daily routine, as many medications need dispensing throughout the day. The timing of medications and diet are key.

Oh! Another reality button, under the bedding that was waiting to be washed.

- WAIT - WHAT ABOUT DEPLOYED MILITARY FAMILIES WITH SPECIAL NEEDS?

There are many, many families with one parent handling these daily challenges alone for weeks, months, a year, or more during deployment times.

But - wait - the holidays are still coming!

I make the call.

"Since you are alone with the kids, how about coming home for Christmas for a couple of weeks. It know it's far. I know the complications of traveling with the little ones alone. Yes. I know the expense. And, yes, I know you keep the kids on routine. BUT. It will also be so fun. I know. I know. The medications and diet. Blah blah blah yea yea yea. We will be able to give you a break when you get here. You need a break. Let us give it to you."

Alright, Parents to Military Families with Special Needs Family Members: Lean in. I'm about to let you in on a secret.

continued...

T

The Holidays are Coming!

Whether we're ready or not!