I was thinking about how I want to spend my Christmas. The past three weeks have been hectic, full of appointments and dates and outings with the girls. It's been a lot of go go go. I try hard to keep to a schedule with the girls and work at not depriving them of their naps. It is important for them to get the rest that they need and it keeps this momma sort of sane.
Having Adele, our world has truly changed. When people think about Down syndrome, they think of intellectual delays and that's it. It is truly so much more then that. I have two full binders filled with appointment forms, milestones, education, government links, mileage and parking forms, funding and so much more. She goes to ACH for hearing, vision and pulmonary appointments, plus we go for occupational therapy, physiotherapy and starting speech in the new year. It's a lot of work and dedication and making sure that she receives all of the care that she needs and deserves. While she is this small little being, we want to access all of the necessary services and supports so that she grows into a beautiful, strong and capable girl. We are busy. All of this hard work will pay off. All of this hard work is worth it.
Having Brinley means that she comes along for the appointments and participates in her sister's therapy. Brinley has become this caring and wonderful big sister. We have decided to access private therapy in our home and Brinley helps the therapist and her sister while we work on feedings and exercises for Adele. This kid has taught us so much about compassion and love. She is such a beautiful little girl. We are proud.
My point....our lives are so busy. I make sure that everybody gets the perfect gift, which sometimes isn't so easy because we are a one income household. There are six kids to buy for, both sets of grandparents, visiting relatives, James' work, all of our therapists, James and I fill each other's stockings as well as a few more gifts for others. Sometimes, I think that we have truly lost the real meaning of Christmas. We go out to the busy malls, with our lists and make sure that we get the perfect gift for each person on our list. We spend so much money every year and sometimes forget what it is truly all about. We put loads of gifts under the tree for our children and this sets the bar for future years. It gets bigger and more extravagant every year. You spend more as they get older and the demands get bigger.
I am guilty of this. Brinley will be three in March and as many of you know, she is obsessed with Minnie Mouse. We should have purchased some Disney shares, I'm sure that they are pleased with how much money we have handed over to them. I see something and I buy it. Brinley reaches her hand out and grabs something off of the shelf in WalMart, I buy it. I love buying her goodies and I love seeing her smile. We get the new Minnie toy back home, it is played with for a short time and then it is forgotten. I was pretty sure that this would have been her favourite toy.
What do our kids need? Our kids need love and for their parents to be present. Our children need for us to spend quality time together. Our children need for us to stop telling them "in a minute." I have told Brinley to give me a minute because I am sending an email or a text. I have actually told my child to wait because technology has sucked me in.....again.
Our children want us to sit on the floor with them and wrestle and make jokes and do arts and crafts. They want us to laugh with them and hug them and kiss them and roll around on the floor with them. We are teaching our kids that the bigger the birthday party, the better. The more kids, the better. The more toys at Christmas, the better. The more designer clothes, the better. We are losing the true meaning of how to properly love our children. Brinley and Adele are still at the age where we get to decide how greedy they will be in the future. I sometimes feel that I want the bigger and better, not because I am competing with all of the Pinterest moms, but because I think that I should be doing this for my children. I should have big birthdays, I should invite all of my friends, I should do all of this because this is what my children would want me to do.
Our children want their families together at Christmas time. Our children want us to put down our cell phones and IPads. Our children want us to play with them and laugh with them. Our children want us to sit together for Christmas dinner. Our children want us to be together as a family.
This Christmas, we are giving our children the best present ever. We are going to be present.
We are going to come together as a family and we will unplug. We will value these times. We will cherish these moments, while they are still little. These moments pass by quickly and we won't get them back. I want my children to know what is important in life and value the true meaning of what it means to be spoiled - health, happiness and family.
Side Note - our town was flooded in June 2013. Many families have not yet recovered and are still out of their homes. There is a huge need for gifts for children. I know that the deadline has passed, but if you are out this way, I'm sure that they would greatly appreciate a toy for a child in need.
Salvation Army urgently seeking Christmas hamper donations