Ah, Christmas. Love it or loathe it my darlings, it’s fast approaching…
Very shortly, the supermarkets will be crammed with preoccupied looking people, frantically stuffing their trolleys to the brim – as if preparing for a food shortage. Well, let’s face it, many of the shops in the UK will be closed for ONE WHOLE DAY!!!
Nuts, not once consumed throughout the rest of the year, will be purchased and lovingly displayed in fake crystal bowls, alongside the obligatory quality street/after eight combo, just for the visitors.
Shoppers will jostle in damp town centres all across the land, traipsing from shop to shop, searching for the perfect present. Credit cards melting from overuse.
Synthetic Christmas trees that’ve lived in the loft for 11 months will be dusted off and brought downstairs by a huffing and puffing patriarch.
Neighbours will exert competitive streaks with their outdoor Christmas decorations and housing estates countrywide will display an overabundance of comparable prancing reindeer type creations from The Range or B&Q (other stores are available, btw). The light pollution will be remarkable!
Mums blood pressure will be sky high as she protests there won’t be enough food to go round on Christmas day…although there’ll probably be enough to feed the whole street!
Still, we can chuck it all on land fill sites if it doesn’t get eaten, eh?
…and, of course, we mustn’t forget (my all-time favourite!) the half price sofa we ought to have delivered before the 25th
Oh, what joy!
(I’m being ironic there, btw)
Poor baby Jesus hardly gets a look in at Christmas these days!
Anyway, sorry, I’ll try and stop waffling on (as usual) and get on with the post….
Where was I? Ah yes, not having the foggiest…
So, before Hannah came along, I imagined Christmas at Broccoli HQ significantly different than it is:
Putting out the homemade mince pies on Christmas Eve for Father Christmas.
Watching contentedly as presents were opened – the ones specified in a handwritten letter to Santa.
Scripts recited. Nativity plays attended.
Decorating the Christmas tree together.
Blah, blah…blah. You know, the usual stuff. All moments worthy of sharing on social media and putting in the album. All heart-warming. All lovely.
But there was (seemingly) a plot twist in life destined for us…
There’d be no Christmas tree. Hannah would only pull it over and get herself squashed…or eat it…or both!
No scripts would be recited.
Hannah doesn’t have an inkling who the big fella with a white beard is. He’s just some scary bloke who invades her space.
I won’t go on. Otherwise, it’ll all sound a bit miserable and that’s not my intention.
So, life/Christmas is considerably different for us…and probably for thousands of other families just like ours too.
And sometimes, significant days like Yuletide (and birthdays) throw up little conundrums that generally tug at the heart a bit too much.
I suppose it probably all started on the build up to Hannah’s first Christmas…
“What are you buying her?” they asked. “Erm…I’m not sure” I replied. Because, really, what could I have bought her? She didn’t want anything, she certainly didn’t need anything ‘material’ that’s for sure. She had everything a baby her age probably would have had (and more), but showed little interest in anything.
What she really needed then was much more important than ‘stuff’. She needed to be able sit up independently, to have her cleft palate repaired, to get rid of that damned naso-gastric tube, to not suffer from her reflux…the list went on.
You can’t find any of that in the Argos catalogue…or even in John Lewis. I KNOW, shocking, ain’t it?!
But, naturally, I bought her presents. Too many, in fact. And so, on our first Christmas morning together, we all huddled in bed, surrounded by her presents; the presents she didn’t look at, didn’t show any interest in, once we’d opened them for her.
It was heart-breaking. Truly, it was. I really don’t know why we bothered that year. We just punished ourselves, stupidly, to appease, to conform to expectations.
The same thing happened the year after and the year after that, too. But we carried on, punishing ourselves and breaking our hearts in equal measure…all because the tradition on Christmas day is that you get ‘things’ and hoping that maybe, just maybe, one Christmas or birthday (if we kept on trying) Hannah might display a little bit of recognition or interest on the day of some of that ‘stuff’.
On the plus side nowadays and dependent on her mood, if a wrapped present isn’t secured with 3 miles worth of sellotape, she may consider taking a few seconds to independently try and open it – yay! She may even take an interest in something now! *does celebratory jig* But if it doesn’t open immediately, it’ll get cast aside.
So now, as Hannah’s older, we get asked “Is she getting excited for Christmas?”. My standard response to this habitual question (after inwardly cringing, of course) being “Erm…well…not really” – as Christmas remains just another day for Hannah. I ought to tell fibs and reply in an upbeat manner “Ooh, yes, absolutely!”. It’d probably be easier all round and save the enquirer looking embarrassed or confused and me feeling like I have to explain for the fifty billionth time why Hannah probably isn’t looking forward to Christmas, why she hasn’t written to Santa, why she hasn’t asked or indicated what she wants…why…why…why.
Just. Ruddy. Why. Indeed.
Arghh! *pokes own eye with finger*
Hannah has dolls, teddies and toys galore – regular toys and sensory toys. She has books a’ plenty – and judging by the bite marks on most of them, they taste good too! She has a wardrobe FULL of lovely things, that’ll last for ages. She has a warm home, she has a very healthy balanced diet, she has clean bedding to sleep on and clothes to wear every day and she is loved. Oh, SO loved.
Hannah doesn’t want for anything materialistic. She doesn’t (or can’t) ask for something…and she certainly doesn’t demand or expect anything either!
However, Hannah, as a result of her syndrome, needs SO much:
She needs help so that her walking doesn’t deteriorate any further.
Equally, she needs support and guidance to be able to speak or communicate effectively in order to express her needs and tell me where she’s hurting.
She needs that damned hospital appointment for her dental work to come quickly (Although I can’t begin to tell you just how much I’m dreading that!)
She needs autonomy – not to be reliant on an adult to meet all of her needs and keep her safe.
She needs assistance to be able to focus on task.
Oh, I could go on!
What she doesn’t need is more plastic stuff, more cardboard stuff. More tat. More stuff not to play with. More inedible stuff to chew or swallow.
There’s clearly a disparity between those two words – want and need – but there are people out there who will never even make attempts to grasp that concept! *sighs*
So, I’ve made a decision. This year, Hannah will get a few presents…but only a few.
But what do I buy her?
(That’s the quandary, btw – the ‘haven’t the foggiest’ bit – I only took about 1000+ words to ACTUALLY get to the point, didn’t it? Ah, well).
Like I say, she has stuff galore and I haven’t an inkling what to buy her. I’ve racked my brain and can’t come up with a thing…except a foot spa. Yes, I KNOW she’s 7 years old, but apparently this kid enjoys being pampered (a budding Lady Muck!) and very much enjoyed the experience of one recently, so she’s having one. Plus, it may help relax her feet and legs.
…although I WILL, most definitely draw the line if she takes an interest in one of those fancy scavenger fish foot spas where your dead skin is nibbled away at. Ew!.
Anyway, there’s no room at Broccoli HQ for an aquarium, so that’s the end of that.
So, I guess that’s all for this post, my lovelies.
I’m off to ponder a bit more.
Thanks, as always, for stopping by.
Until next time
This post is dedicated to Santa’s Elves. Those supernatural, industrious little guys, devoted to making their boss’s life that bit easier.