To the Christmas tree lot we go

Christmas is a season we love to welcome at our home in a major way. Christmas is a beautiful season for many reasons; the birth of our Savior, acts of kindness, food, parties, the decorations, did I mention food. What we especially love is Jack tries extra hard not to be bad. There are limited communications with the nuts he tends to get tied up with, he goes to bed in a timely manner, even saying please & thank you. Last week, we headed to our local Christmas tree lot, Lindsey’s. Lindsey’s has been a family tradition of ours for years, with each year getting a real Frasier Fur Christmas tree. Lindsey & his family are dear friends of ours & they help make not only ours, but everyones tree buying experience as smooth as possible. Lindsey’s team blows the tree off, wraps it in netting, places it on your tree stand, loads it up, easy as pie. Lindsey’s offers a great atmosphere for tree shopping with Christmas music, hot chocolate, & laughter. (Sidestory), I’m an avid QVC shopper. This summer during their Christmas in July sale, I decided to try to break tradition & purchased a faux tree for the first time in my life. I’ve never cared for an artificial tree, I love the smell & look of real trees, & love to support the Christmas tree farmer. However, in my older age & with all the problems we have in our lives, I purchased a 7.5 foot prelit tree that could magical things all in order to make my life less complicated. A few weeks ago, we tried to put together my summer purchased artificial Christmas tree. Jack had a fit, he wouldn’t have it! I was so mad. Why would an 18 year old boy care whether or not we had a tree, much less whether it was real or not? My frustrations with this kid are many & daily. After I got blessed out for trying to have an artificial tree, it wasn’t worth my time nor energy arguing my case which is I’m getting older, tired, & I just don’t want to deal with the mess of a real tree. I don’t know about y’all, but in our house, Christmas is left up to me pretty much 99.9%, I think it’s that way in a lot of homes-the female does most of the work; the shopping, the decorating, getting down decorations, putting up decorations, cooking, cleaning-all of which totally sucks. As I have aged, I would love to throw in the towel & say the heck with it & not have any Christmas decorations any more. It’s overwhelming now. I don’t like messes & that’s all the house is until everything is finished. Then December 25 when Santa arrives, it’s a mess yet again. People give gifts, Santa comes, no one wants to help clean, it is not a fun time if you’re the head woman in charge & don’t happen to love chaotic disasters. BUT, after all the Christmas decorations are up, it is so nice to sit back & look at everything twinkle & sparkle, but on December 26, it all becomes ugly to me & back in the boxes the decorations go.

Our Christmas tree hunt this year was uneventful (shocking, right?). Lee & I are always a nervous wreck at the Christmas tree lot each year. Jack has had a few big seizures at the Christmas tree lot in past years from the excitement of choosing a tree, so you can imagine our anxiety, it is a very stressful time for Lee & myself. You often need someone else to help you see situations more clearly. My sister asked why Jack didn’t want the artificial tree. I said because he’s a butthead, she said it’s probably the tradition of getting the tree. I instantly felt bad for saying he’s a butthead. Jodie was so right. As we were at the lot (on pins & needles), Jack went straight to looking at the trees, speaking to the familiar faces of Lindsey’s, & after our selection was made, he goes & orders a cup of hot chocolate. He holds his hot chocolate & makes small talk with the men working, reminded me how older men gather in a circle, drink coffee, & gossip. It was then that I realized Jodie’s wisdom. Our Christmas tree hunt went off without a hitch, no seizures, no acting out.

This day was also Black Friday. Jack obtained a Black Friday sale paper from GameStop (his stomping ground) somehow. He has looked the pictures off that sale paper. He reminded me of how I was when JCPenney had a catalog, I would look at that thing for hours & days. Then I would come up with a game to choose one item from each page, then I would try decide who I would gift my choices to. Childhood was fun before phones! After we got the tree, Jack just had to go to GameStop, the Black Friday bug got to him. With $5 to his name, he spent it on Pokémon cards, only staying in the store 30 minutes for a $4 pack of cards. The next day, Jack called GameStop multiple times to ask them questions about different items. I must get the employees at GameStop a Christmas gift for their patience with Jack! After we hit the Christmas tree lot, GameStop, the drive-thru, we made it back home successfully. Jack did not care one iota about the tree. It’s the tradition he was hunting, not decorating. I was able to sell the artificial tree I loved so much, not for the price I paid, but does that really matter when one of your child’s biggest joy is the thrill of the hunt? We each missed not having Coleman be a part of the tree selection, who would of known that last year would of been his last year helping to choose the tree? It’s strange when you’re doing things that seem so ordinary, you really never know or think that could be your last time doing an activity or in our case as a whole family unit & here I was trying to break the tradition altogether. I had still planned on visiting Lindsey’s to purchase some things, just not a tree. Some traditions can never be broken is the lesson I learned. We may not all be together, but it is so important to keep routines going, especially for those with special needs. Breaking routines with a special needs person can result in a tailspin no one can handle.

As I have said from the get-go, we love the Christmas holiday season because Jack tries his best to behave. There have been moments of sassiness (expected with a teen), a few inappropriate interactions with strangers, however for the most part, Jack has done really well since the beginning of November. As I reflect on Jack’s standing last year around this same time, I remember Jack being catfished (if you want to know the whole story, go back & read my blog titled “Catfished”) by someone. This person told Jack “she” was going to come live with him & so on. He wouldn’t listen to reason about it either. He was bound & determined this fool was going to move in with us. Jack had no qualms about the things they were going to do together; take a shower together, cuddle in his bed, & chill. I honestly thought at that time that Jack would not make it through January 2019 housed in our home. I was actively seeking a facility for him to live the rest of his life in. Currently, I am not as of afraid of Jack as I was then, he has calmed down significantly, so I try to more proactive in getting ahead of any funny business by obtaining info off his phone after he goes to sleep. I get help from family & friends & they send these idiots that toy with his mind messages of warnings or threats. I spend a good 15 minutes each night or longer after he goes to sleep cleaning out his phone, blocking numbers, & taking pictures of names & numbers that need a virtual butt-whooping, I would love to give them a real-life butt whooping. Lee fusses at me constantly for not being asleep by midnight, I never am. It’s usually 1:30-2am before I get to sleep. My daylight hours are busy with dealing with Jack, household things, bills, work, schedules, Ava. Nighttime hours are Jack, Jack, Jack, cooking, accounting things for The Berry Patch, a little tv with Lee & Ava, awaiting Jack’s shuteye, waiting for Jack to fall asleep good so I can sneak his phone to block and/or send messages to nutheads, & shower, so getting to bed at a reasonable time is not obtainable. I’m tired of being an FBI agent! Would love to be able to come into my home & do absolutely nothing.

Now that the Christmas season is among us, the tree is up, decorations are out, Jack’s Santa letter was mailed way back in October, & it is time for that confounded Elf on the Shelf to make his appearance. I thought we were going to be able to slide without the Elf this year, but no, Jack called me yesterday requesting the Elf’s presence. Kill me now, I hate that little man! All the memes are so true about parents and the elf on the shelf. I run through the house sometimes at 3am if I happen to wake up to hide it or wake Lee up & tell him to (hey, I’ve only been asleep an hour), or tell Jack that someone must of touched it & that’s why it didn’t move. I can not remember to do this one task on top of everything else & forget all that fancy mess some do with a high wire strung from the ceiling fan to the front door with the elf balancing on it or words spelled out from the elf. Our elf, Barney is lucky to be sitting beside a lamp or stuck in a vase. The woman that invented this “treasure” needs to be horse whipped! See the clever hiding spot Barney & his reindeer have?

We have only 20 days before Santa arrives, that means 20 days of good behavior from Jack. There have been no chat rooms for about six weeks, his door hasn’t been closed at all, no irrational demands either. It’s scary to know that Christmas will be over soon. All of our moments of calmness could vanish on December 26-how sad that would be! It’s amazing to me that Jack holds Santa on such a pedestal, but what he doesn’t realize that Santa is actually me (the smartest, hardest working, transgendered person I know). If he knew that the big guy was actually me, the same good behavioral side effects would not take place, of that I am certain. I wish I had the same standing as Santa! It is truly wonderful to see the self-control Jack exhibits this time of year, which makes me know it’s possible the whole year long, but unfortunately isn’t. The next 20 days will zoom by. Gatherings, gifts, eating, & visits with family & friends will be in full-swing for the next few weeks, we plan on enjoying our solitude while we can. In the meanwhile, if you’re up around 1am, text me & remind me to move that blooming elf!

Author: dravetsyndromeblog

44 year old Mama of three kids, wife of a farmer, & business owner.