It's tempting, as a parent, to hear some piece of wisdom about kids and say "yeah, but not MY kid." When I read and was told that, for adopted kids, the holidays are very difficult, I mistakenly thought Geri would be immune. I think I figured that, since she is so delayed in her development, she would be too infantile to be affected. Or perhaps I thought that we were keeping things pretty low key, so why would she have trouble?
sigh. another lesson learned.
My definition of a low-key Christmas is not my daughter's. I failed to factor in the days leading up to it, honestly, and the relatively new concept of gifts in her mind.
On Friday we got up very early to get Big Brother from the airport. He had traveled to visit his bio-dad's family and was returning in time for Christmas. This meant rousing the girls to drive up to Denver at o'dark-thirty. We figured, although why we thought this I'll never understand, that Geri would sleep in the car on the ride up so it would be moot. In the car at 5:30 in her PJ's, she would sleep until we got there and wake at a near-normal 7:30 and then eat some oatmeal at McDonald's before a ride home and a nap at the normal time. Wow, that is so naive in print... What really happened is that she woke up at 5:30, refused to sleep in the car, refused to eat at McDonald's, and returned home cranky and agitated and unable to eat or sleep. The upset of that day would lead to poor sleep that night, followed by no nap the next day, followed by poor sleep the next night... you get the picture. By the time we were going to Christmas Eve service, she was unhappy with us and we were about ready to keel over from exhaustion. When Christmas morning rolled around, everyone was out of sorts.
Then, cue the insanity. She was NOT ready for what unfolds on a typical Christmas morning. All of the chaos of presents being torn into, paper flying, new toys squawking and singing and lighting up all around... it was more than she could handle. She was only able to open about three presents that morning, the rest happened slowly over the course of the day. In the brief periods of happiness in between tantrums.
It was not the picture of the ideal Christmas day, but I'm learning to let go of ideal things. There were some definite moments of happiness. And really, what is life about but to hold onto the moments of happiness that God grants us and let go of the rest?
By the by, my husband gave me the best present possible. A 2 hour nap, totally uninterrupted, in the guest room downstairs. What did I give him? Today I gave him a similar break, out on the porch with his pipe. :) It's the little things.