Guest blogger Becky Hallberg suggests parents of kids with special needs make the Christmas season more manageable by counting just the successes.

Guest blogger Becky Hallberg offers a welcome holiday suggestion to parents of kids with special needs. Her wise words are guaranteed to lower your stress, put a smile on your face, and encourage you to focus on the reason we celebrate Christmas. So read on…

Just the Successes

The holidays are a tricky time for our family. This time of year is full of traditions, the sparkle of lights, and the melody of Christmas music. But how do you cope when these exact things, which we all look forward to, when they are possible triggers for a family member? How do you deal with all of the “what-if’s” that the season brings?

We live near a major city and so the opportunities for enjoying the holidays, and all the glitz and glamor that go with them, are pretty much endless! It’s the perfect place for a Christmas-lover like me! I would love to take our kids to all of the light displays, musical productions, festively-decorated areas, and soak in the goodness of time spent together!

And then the big, glaring reminder of all the sensory issues sneaks in to smack me in the face. We have one who can’t always tolerate those things – but sometimes he can. What do you do, as a parent, when things may go exceedingly well, or they may fall apart horribly?  What’s the right choice to make?

I wish I had the answer, all perfectly-figured, decisively-calculated, and beautifully-packaged, to hand to you. That would be quite a gift, wouldn’t it? I’d love to receive that gift, and I’d love to pass it along to you!

I spend time each year, wondering – worrying, even – about our decisions as they pertain to our son, and what he may or may not be able to tolerate.

Are we pushing too much?
Not pushing enough?
Will he survive waiting in the line?
Will he miss doing (whatever it may be) if we don’t try?
Are we doing something wrong?
Are we doing anything right?

That’s a lot to wrestle with, in just considering whether or not to go on an outing. I often find myself figuring that skipping something may be the easiest option – no lines, no hassle, no sensory overload. And then the mommy guilt sets in.

Can I attempt to encourage you? Our feelings, as parents – mine, yours, his, hers – they count. They matter. They are valid – every last one of them. If I feel this way around the holidays, I’m sure many of you do as well. I am so grateful to have my faith in a loving God, who I can share my feelings with, openly and honestly. Let’s face it – He is God, He already knows how I feel.

I’m learning that my child’s ability to cope does seem to get a little better as he gets older. However, his age is no guarantee for success in any situation.

And that one word – success – is such a key word in all of this.

What if you and I decided that we would only accept being defined by our successes this Christmas season? What if our yardstick for measuring our enjoyment of the holidays was only made up of the successful moments? We could do that, you know – just count the successes.

Chances are, we know there will be moments that aren’t successful – maybe even whole days. But, what if we shook it up a little this year, and decided in our hearts that we wanted to measure only the successes?

What if I shared my successes with you, and you shared yours with me, and together, we held those precious gifts as reminders that all that we do, as parents, matters. It’s vitally important. But we don’t need to carry the sting of things going wrong. Take the hurts, the shattered plans, the missed opportunities, the doubts, questions and worries and leave them with Jesus. Let Him heal the hurts and mend the wounds.

Let’s sit with Jesus in the warmth, love and delight of all that you are doing well. Let’s measure our enjoyment of this time of the year by the successes and thank Him for those times. I will cling to those as we move through the holidays and into the New Year. Will you join me?


just the successes.

Becky and I invite you to share your successes in the comment box. To read more from Becky visit her blog, Shar Sharing Redemption’s Stories.

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Guest blogger Becky Hallberg suggests parents of kids with special needs make the Christmas season more manageable by counting just the successes.