Welcome RJ, I’ll turn my blog over to you now…
My son believes in Father Christmas. That isn’t such an odd thing really; both he and my daughter were led to believe that a man filled with magic would leave the most awesome gifts for them under the tree. Just as my parents had done for my sister and me. A visit to Father Christmas, or Santa, in his grotto, in Selfridges down Oxford Street in London, or even at the local school Christmas fair was imperative. It meant receiving a small parcel of pens or a small penny-doll, wrapped by the great man himself as a taster to what was coming on the big day. Carrots on the hearth, a bottle of beer, water for Rudolph, everything would be just right for my sister and me to sit well into the dark, sometimes as late as midnight, waiting to hear the reindeer on the roof. This is the second year that Matthew believes in Father Christmas, and we have a grotto to visit and letters to be written. He is also promising to be very good just in case Santa is watching.
My boy loves Thomas the Tank Engine. That isn’t really all that odd either. A lot of small boys, and girls, love the Thomas figures. It is a proven fact that their wide eyes and open expression-filled faces are easy for little kids to relate to. The less-than-good engines (there are no real truly evil Thomas characters) always lose out on the good things. The slightly-flawed-but-good engines battle on bravely and end up on top. They also offer places in the exalted circle for the less-than-good engines that might otherwise miss out. This is another year when we have to visit a toy shop and buy yet more Thomas. Matthew is promising to be very good so he can have the very Thomas engine that he wants. A gold and blue one that I need to track down.
My baby boy eats olives. Now that is kind of odd. For an English kid to like the salty goodness of olives is really mostly weird. Olives are not part of the English staple diet as they may be elsewhere in Europe. He particularly likes to eat entire jars of them in one sitting. He has ten on them on a plate each night before bed; they have to be pitted as he isn’t a great fan of the stones. If we run out of olives then the terrible two’s hit like a freight train, tantrums like you wouldn’t believe. As a result, we always have olives. This Christmas we are visiting Costco, where you can buy huge catering size jars of olives that we can store in our garage. God help us if we were snowed in with no way of buying olives. Matthew promises us on a daily basis that he will be good if he can have his ten olives.
My little boy actually isn’t really so little. He is actually nearly 12.
He has autism.
Last year was the first year he believed in the nebulous concept that is Father Christmas. When he went into the Shopping Centre grotto, with his face hidden by his hands so no one could look at him, I just stood outside the grotto and I cried. Surrounded by kids of four and five, with their bemused parents staring at me, I literally cried for ten years of having no thoughts of a magic Santa popping into my little boys head.
Christmas is magic and now Matthew has some of that inside him, that excitement and that anticipation. For me this Christmas, visiting the grotto with him will be the most awesome gift of all.
Thank you so much for your touching post, RJ!