Christmas Recovery

by | Autism, Life, Parenting

Every year we join friends on Boxing Day for their annual Christmas recovery gathering. It is a day of sharing leftovers, discussion of the past year, kids happily playing together while adults eat, drink and relax, plus sunset with a view.
There’s nothing like it really. A bunch of accepting and loving people and their children, all gathering to relax and enjoy the conclusion of yet another year. So much is shared on this day. We talk about our year, and how it has gone. Sometimes even share tears when it has been difficult, and generally catch up. It’s also a gathering of Aspie and ADHD children, with much fun play and discussion about special interests. It’s common to be catering for food issues, so no one passes judgement or pressures anyone into eating anything, and the wide array of leftovers allows for almost any dietary requirements. Escaping to nap, de-stress from social interaction, or even read a book is all ok. There were no meltdowns this year, as the youngest children (my 8yos Chip and Dale) have reached a level of calm and maturity, as have other kids, but when meltdowns happened in past years, they were ok too. Acceptance is the theme.
Unlike family, these are our chosen people. They are welcoming and non-judgemental. They are accepting and interesting. They are diverse and supportive. I’m thankful for this constant in my life. The hosts are truly wonderful and supportive friends, whom we have maintained contact with throughout mine and Charlie’s time together. After all, I knew one of them before I knew Charlie. His wife slotted in as if she was part of the group, but had simply been missing all years previous, and she and I embarked on parenthood only a month apart. I wouldn’t be writing this blog without her, as she is one of my biggest supporters, and a talented supporter at that, so her opinion is not without qualification.
While this isn’t my only social group, as I tend to flitter between an eclectic range of people, they are a welcome set of faces we consistently de-stress with after Christmas each year. I’m so thankful for them.  Even Charlie is relaxed with them, and our long-term history with everyone means no explanations are required.
These are the types of people who I allow into my life these days: kind, accepting, intelligent and interesting conversationalists. I consider myself fortunate to have had many people who fit this description in my life, some from as long ago as primary and high school, but many I don’t see as regularly. Despite only really keeping in touch with the hosts throughout the year, this is an entire group that we trust. It’s quite interesting walking through discussions of the past year with the same bunch consistently. It’s been lovely to watch them all grow emotionally, and watching their kids grow too. I can’t think of a better way to conclude my year socially.
Who are your people?
Do you have friends who make you feel truly comfortable?
Do you have annual gatherings which hold a welcome consistency?

If you would like to discuss the ideas in this post further, tell your story, or share your experiences, please join us on our Facebook page.
Please be respectful of others at all times. We are all on different journeys.

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