Our artificial pre-lit Christmas tree is up. Thankfully, the cat and kids aren't interested in climbing it or pulling it down or yanking off the ornaments.
Four stockings line our stair banister waiting for Santa to fill them with goodies. Christmas lights cast a soft, inviting glow on our front porch at night, setting the perfect Christmas mood with every twinkle.
Matthew's favorite musical Christmas toys are out. With one squeeze of his hand, this snowman dances to the tune of Frosty the Snowman.
The nativity play set is set up under the Christmas tree but baby Jesus has found his way to the cozier-looking crib in the Fisher Price Little People house. I think Bill inadvertently put baby Jesus there for pretend play time with Matthew.
Christmas music streams from the iPod speakers. Matthew sings along.
"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" prompts me to sing along. Up until 3 years ago, I viewed Rudolph as pretty cool with his shiny red nose. Other than that, I didn't internalize the song like I did after Matthew was born. I began to see Rudolph's uniqueness from an entirely different level - through the eyes of a mom who has a child with special needs. Rudolph's uniqueness took on a deeper meaning in my mind.
"All of the other reindeer
used to laugh and call him names.
They never let poor Rudolph
join in any reindeer games."
This part of the song makes me so sad that I actually cry. I ponder Matthew's social life. I think of how I don't ever want him to feel like an outcast. I think of how I might react if I hear people call him offensive names.
Then one foggy Christmas Eve
Santa came to say:
"Rudolph with your nose so bright,
won't you guide my sleigh tonight?"
Then all the reindeer loved him
as they shouted out with glee,
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer,
you'll go down in history!
As the song ends, I'm still teary but with happy tears. I dream that Matthew will have lots of friends. I dream of how people will accept and respect him for who he is. I dream of how many lives he will inspire and has inspired, including mine.
Amazing how having a child with Down syndrome has changed my outlook on even the simplest things! In this case, it's a simple song that's not even about Down syndrome. Or maybe I'm just emotional at Christmas...