“Must Be Santa”, a carol which Ash learned at school last week and which was conveniently sung during a concert held for the kids at school earlier this week, has been one of his favorite songs lately. I have been singing it to myself for much of the day, though. “Why?” you rhetorically ask?
When we brought Ash to see Santa, one of the things that Santa told us as an aside, was that the venue he was at was doing a “Letters to Santa” thing for the kids. There was a “letter” form up front, and a mailbox. On the 23rd, the venue would host a “Whoville Christmas” party for the kids who wrote letters, with a (different?) Santa, a Mrs.Claus, a Grinch, and general food and thematic merriment. They’d also choose ten children from those who wrote. After the party, those children would get visited at home by Santa and the other characters, and Santa would bring personally bring them something they asked for in their letter. Since Santa knew that Ash was autistic, he guessed that this was the kind of chance we’d want to know about and cross a lot of fingers over. We did. That’s just the kind of thing we’ve had to build Ash’s Christmases with.
Between the venue only being open on Fri-Sat-Sun and hubby’s wonky work schedule, I didn’t have a chance to deliver Ash’s letter (written by me of course, but with included quotes from him) until today. I didn’t have high hopes, but Ash had just asked to be able to go to the zoo, passes for which hadn’t been on any previous lists anyone had asked us for, and which only a local could really help with anyway. I had to try. So we rushed off there after Ash left for school on his bus, between other errands and before hubby had to get ready to leave for work. After finding the mailbox we decided to do a quick walkabout, and see what else we could find for future reference. As we did, I saw a vendor that I recognized (from info. on the “Donations” envelopes near Santa’s mailbox) as being one of the people coordinating the event. I asked her if it had been too late to drop off the letter — which it wasn’t, as they were finishing making their choices at the end of this weekend — and we got to talking. She told us the specifics for the party, and when she learned that we wouldn’t be able to bring Ash, and the various reasons why, we talked some more.
She-who-is-going-to-be-Mrs.Claus told us that we could plan on Ash being one of the ten children chosen. They will try to get zoo passes for us, so we can bring him there (although that probably won’t happen until the Spring since 2/3 of the animals can’t be seen in the Winter). They might not be able to, because most of the gifts come from toy donations or already-spent-on-toys monetary donations, going on the assumption that most kids ask for fairly predictable things. But, she said they’ll try. And ours will be the second house visited after the party, so hopefully Ash will still be awake, and with luck, still lively enough that he can handle such an unusual and exciting visit. They know they have to be “sensory sensitive” about things.
I am so excited!! I mean, we can’t know how Ash will handle things in the moment, but no matter how it goes, he will still remember it afterward as something very special that happened because HE is very special. That’s a gift, whether or not Santa brings him another one. And if that happens too, well, that’s just awesome…Ash gets an educational, therapy-riddled experience he greatly looks forward to, that none of our other resources, predictable or surprising, would have given him.
We are feeling so blessed with magic and miracles, this season. Things are still incredibly tough, but they could be so much worse. My baby finally “gets” Christmas…and with help, we’re going to be able to give him a little more of it.
(You can read how things turned out, HERE.)