The house smelled terrible…
I was cooking Kyle’s breakfast and getting his lunch ready for him to head out for the day. Kyle has autism and is twenty-seven years old. My husband Vance had just walked into the kitchen and was coughing. I had also been choking and coughing on burnt black pepper. Christmas music played in the background as I cooked.
The day had started off-key…like our life.
Kyle didn’t seem to be moving very quickly, and Vance was getting behind in getting him ready to go. Kyle’s staff arrive each morning at 8:00 am. I texted his staff and let them know he wouldn’t be available till 8:15.
Then I had dropped a large container of bulk black pepper. When I stood on my tippy toes to reach for it, I fumbled, and it spilled all over the stove which had two burners on high.
Burnt pepper is disgusting, and both Vance and I were sputtering and coughing.
He went back upstairs to get Kyle ready, and I started a fire in the fireplace and turned on the Christmas lights. Unbeknownst to me smoke had risen and was filling the upstairs while I had my back to the fire. I could hear Vance coughing again.
I had forgotten to open the flu.
Vance came running down and opened some doors and windows. Right about then Kyle’s staff walked in the door…
Just a regular day for my husband being married to me. I add excitement to his life, without me he’d be bored. At least that’s what I tell myself.
The day was going to get better . I was going to spend some time with my two daughters, Charity and Aryanna, doing some shopping and then go out for lunch. Our son Devyn was going to spend some time with Vance while Kyle was out for the day, they thought they might watch a movie together since it was a Saturday and the house would be quiet.
Kyle’s staff came into the kitchen, and she didn’t look so good, all colour had drained from her face. Within a few minutes, she was apologizing and heading out the door with stomach flu.
The day had changed.
Olivia came upstairs. She is a family friend and had stayed overnight and was having coffee with me in the kitchen. Kyle joined us and was charming and adorable. He smiled at Olivia as she chatted away to him.
“Daddy, drive in the truck…snacks.”
I knew how Vance was going to spend his day. His plans changed, and he took Kyle for a long drive while I was out.
The girls and I went shopping and had so much fun together as we laughed and giggled throughout the shopping adventure. Our goal was to find Aryanna a beautiful dress for her Christmas formal for her College and Career church group.
We went for lunch at one of our favourite restaurants, Vibe. I really enjoyed my time with my girls and mention to Charity that I had put a roast beef in the crockpot. Everyone made plans to come for dinner.
Before we dropped Charity back off at home, we stop for Starbucks at Pino’s. We share a passion for coffee and sip our drinks as we walk to the car. Then we drop Charity off at her apartment.
Later we gather around the dinner table eating a delicious supper. It was one of those rare meals when everything turned out yummy. We played some games and chatted with our kids. Aryanna made her favourite brother-in-law, Dan, some cinnamon buns and we ate this delicious treat as we visited.
We talked of my son Eythan, and his wife Jazmin, joining us next week for the holidays. We made plans for dinners together and shared how thrilled we were to be having our son and new daughter home for their first Christmas. They will be here for two weeks, and we are all very excited.
Joy filled the air.
I thought of my son-in-law Dan’s parents, Don and Dixie, and the beautiful gift they gave us this year. They decided to break tradition and have Christmas each year on Christmas Eve day. This will free the kids up to be here Christmas Day each year. They are such wonderful in-laws to Charity.
This year my family is staying home all day. I am beyond excited. Usually, I am here with Kyle when they go next door to celebrate with Vance’s mom and siblings. The day is fun and festive at Mom’s, with lots of good food and laughter.
I have no clue how Christmas will really go this year…
We spent many years in emergency rooms with Kyle as a baby during the holidays. He had bronchial infections and croup most winters. When he was older November and December were tough bipolar months. He was usually up at least ten times a night during these months.
After a ten-day bad spell recently, he made a turn around last week and is feeling fantastic. He’s communicating well and hanging out with us more and more. Kyle’s wearing his housecoat most of the time when he’s home…
Does my heart dare hope that this may be a beautiful, peaceful Christmas?
I dream of Kyle sitting in the living room with us opening presents and then at the table for dinner as we visit and eat turkey together. He usually eats in his bedroom where he can get away from the noise and being over stimulated. Sometimes he is violent and throwing dishes on Christmas Day.
Kyle loves Christmas…this is his dream too…to feel peace.
He starts talking about Christmas, months before. His staff takes him for drives in December to look at Christmas lights, and he is in his glory. Kyle is the only one we still stuff a stocking for. Sometimes he sits for a minute and opens a present but usually, he has an anxiety attack and bolts from the living room.
Vance ends up taking him for a drive at some point. This is normal to us.
A true Henson Christmas.
But this year I am filled with a longing and hope.
God, let our son enjoy Christmas with us.
I have no clue what Christmas will be like this year. The dishes may be flying. But one thing I have learned over the years: even though Christmas may look like a disaster to anyone who could secretly peek into our home… we can still have peace.
Many do not have Jesus in their life and also have no family and no home.
We may have something most families do not…autism. But it changed our family and brought us closer together. We have treasures and gifts that God has given to us that surpassed the Christmases that were disastrous.
Life has been off key for many years. But a beautiful music has filled our lives over the years as we spent most of our time here at home with our children.
We have a Saviour. We have a family. We have a home. We have autism. We have love.
These gifts will bring us a beautiful Christmas, even if the dishes are flying.
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:10-14 NIV