As the weather begins to cool, my thoughts are turning to cozying and nesting. I love Autumn and, as long as I'm warmly tucked inside, I also love Winter. This little train of thought reminded me of the ongoing Monopoly game our family had a few winters ago, and that led me to thinking about family rituals.
Last Winter, during the very very cold weeks, we sometimes rented 7 movies (7 movies for 7 days for $7!) and would watch as many as we could over one weekend. We played a lot of Bananagrams games, or at least our version of it. Last winter was also the beginning of our "chicken dinner" ritual. The local grocery store offers a "meal deal" that includes a roasted chicken along with two salads. We eat mostly homemade meals (http://www.findthesimplefoods.blogspot.com) but once in awhile we've bought "the dinner." Last year, we started buying it about once a month on the same evening as the beginning of our movie marathon weekend. My son seems to view it as a treat. It's sort of our "relaxing and doing nothing" meal.
This year, we're having a "no buy" Christmas. Any gifts exchanged have to be homemade or repurposed. I'm hoping that we'll all agree to continue this as a tradition. My son and I are having a great time coming up with ideas and figuring out what will work.
We like to take nature walks. My son will often scout out good photography shots for me but spends most of his time looking at spiderwebs, holes in the ground, evidence of fires, anthills, etc. We have a "nature tray" in our kitchen that houses a few of the treasures we've brought home. This year my son has started collecting the pine cones in our front yard. He receives payment for collecting them if his usual responsibilities have already been taken care of. It's only a miniscule payment per cone, but my son is drawn to the idea for its ease. It's an easy money-maker for him, they smell nice sitting in a basket on our table, and hopefully it will be a nice memory for him.
This blog was initially set up as a means of communicating with my son's team. Since then, I've heard from other parents with similar stories. If you are living with challenges or journeying alongside someone who is, you are not alone. There are many of us. I'm a single adoptive Mom (http://richesofsimplicity.blogspot.com/) of a young man who lives with many abilities and many diagnoses. We have journeyed together through many challenges and a few adventures over the years as my son has tried to find space in this world that makes him feel more comfortable, an attempt made especially difficult when living with Attachment Disorder, PDD-NOS (Autism), Developmental Coordination Disorder, ADHD, prenatal substance exposure, etc. Some of the strongest elements used in this journey have been music, visual arts, therapeutic parenting, team-connection, boundary-setting, boundary-setting, boundary-setting, communication skills, community-building, continual lifeskills training, and elements of Theraplay. (Click here for some written resources.) On this journey, there is laughter and tears and growth and hope. The greatest of these is hope.