Holidays and “What Ifs”

After a year and a half of extensive loss within our family, including multiple grandparents and my father-in-law, we were anxious to spend the holidays surrounded by relatives. We’ve been staying with my brother-in-law and his family, and enjoying multiple events. Living amidst a household of six kids or more under one roof can be challenging for Eddie. My daughters love the chaos of holidays with the cousins, but Eddie isn’t always impressed.

multiple stockings belonging to Eddie and cousins

As usual, we can’t help but ask the negative “what if” questions when planning for the season. What if he is constantly upset? What if he doesn’t sleep? What if he gets sick? What if he makes it impossible for us to enjoy the holiday as we’d like to? We ask, we wonder, but we don’t let those thoughts dictate our plans.

Instead, we move forward with the hope that the other “what if” questions we ask will come true. What if he has a great time? What if he loves the extra attention from extended family? What if he chooses to participate in some of our favorite holiday traditions? What if Christmas is just as we’d hope for him and ourselves?

The road trip to join my in-laws is usually 5-6 hours, which wasn’t all sunshine and roses. The rocky start to our Christmas vacation wasn’t a good sign, but luckily it wasn’t a sign of the week to come. There have been some challenges, but mostly our holidays have been filled with many Christmas Blessings.

We were able to attend an extremely special courthouse occasion, followed by a family breakfast that we all enjoyed, including Eddie.

While the toy room was full of screaming cousins and numerous toys, Eddie continued to venture inside to participate in this multi-sensory event instead of avoiding it at all costs.

Christmas Eve with the extended family gave him the opportunity to hug-on relatives, and participate in a highly social outing.

Santa brought multiple presents that proved a success including noise-canceling headphones that have AM/ FM radio built-in, tactile puzzles, braille alphabet tiles, and a megaphone that alters the sound of his voice.

Visiting new houses and events have given him a chance to explore independently, and he has been brave enough to do just that.

This blog often makes it sounds like Eddie is my whole world, but he’s only one person in many who make up my universe. Our biggest Christmas Blessing this year was being able to spend time with lots of people we love, while struggling with the holes left by the people we’ve lost. Family gives me hope in the New Year, and gives us courage to carry on in the face of every “what if.”

Happy Holidays to family and friends connected by knowing and loving a child who is visually impaired. May you be surrounded by blessings and “what ifs” with only happy endings.