2014 Military Special Needs Network Holiday Guide Winter 2014 - Page 26

The kids - your kids and your grandchildren - are coming home for Christmas. Maybe for a couple of weeks. I'm pretty sure your adult children need a break from their strict routines that they are always on. I've got some great ideas for family, friends and activities. Cookies? Fudge, maybe? A little change in diet is expected. That's what the holidays are for, right? Big fun - couldn't hurt anything. In fact, it's our prerogative as grandparents to Rock the Holidays, and make lasting memories. That's our job - our RIGHT! We've got this.

In fact if you ask us...well, you don't need to ask us. We'll tell you what you're doing wrong. Remember, we are your parents and look how good you turned out. We are the experts in parenting.

Psst...Parents...Lean in close...really close: HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND? HAVEN'T YOU HEARD ANYTHING THAT WAS SAID ABOUT ROUTINE, MEDICATIONS, SPECIAL DIETS?

If you event think for one minute that you are more of an expert in special needs parenting

than your adult children - the actual parents of those special needs grandchildren, I suggest you pack up your Dr. Oz approved protein bars, and be fleet of foot. The whole special needs community and tribe of experts who work with your grandchildren on a near-daily basis are all waiting with baited breath to hear your theories and learn of your ground breaking therapy ideas!

If you want to alienate yourself from your grandchildren and adult children, be sure to make the holidays as difficult for them as possible. By all means, feel free to whine and beg your children to allow you to give special foods that you don't think "will hurt anyone." Better yet - sneak forbidden foods to your grandchildren. Tell your adult children that they've taken the fun out of grandparenting. Don't listen to their advice on how to avoid sensory overloads and meltdowns. Do what you want, when you want, because it's what grandparents get to do.

But, then, don't complain when your grandchild is unable to handle the changes to his diet and he becomes ill; or when she is in sensory overload and is unable to enjoy any part of the holiday; and don't dare speak out when your grandchild melts down completely and hurts himself or someone else. And don't be surprised if you are no longer allowed to see your grandchildren, or even if they pack up and leave early.

Here is another reality button: I am a better person because of my special needs grandchildren. I have more compassion and understanding. I'm less hasty to judge a child having a meltdown in the store or restaurant. I will not stare at you with laser-like acuity or silently sentence you to public flogging in Time Square. I appreciate the struggles and challenges of others and say a little prayer for good days for you, and rest for your weariness.

We can prioritize Christmas. Just like the First Christmas over two thousand years ago, the setting was far from perfect, but the star was in

the most perfect place, most visible to all. And the Gift...oh, the Gift - Was and Is still perfect.

Christmas has never been about the perfect setting, about decorations, or the meal. It's always about gathering your family together, loving and appreciating all that we're given, and experiencing the Grace and Love of the season. I wish you and yours the Merriest of Christmas.

Grandma Sharon was written many books and articles. They are all locked up safely in her mind.

26 2014 MSNN Holiday Guide / November, 2014