Christmas is always such a bittersweet time of year for parents that have kids with autism. Do you travel, stay home, bring your own food, go to a mall, visit Santa...and what kind of present to get? The anxiety of all of it can be overwhelming, as much for the parent as the child. Sometimes I think I get too into my own head thinking about how hard it will be for Chandler. He loves Christmas trees, snow, and could care less about presents unless it is a case of pop tarts. I never gave it much thought, as we always had the same traditions in my family. My siblings and I would all pile the kids in our respective vehicles, and drive to Detroit Lakes. There would be a mountain of gifts with police caution tape around the tree. We would forgo the traditional turkey for a potluck with meatballs, cheese trays, 15 kinds of sweets, and an assortment of food that we would regret stuffing our faces with, as well as doritoes, so the kids were extra happy. It was hard for my parents to go anywhere because of my mom's MS. It has deteriorated her body to the point that she will spend her first Christmas in the nursing home this year. We were all too busy dealing with it for me to think about how it would affect Chandler. That scares me. I haven't yet explained to my kids that she isn't going home. For a number of reasons, I am no longer speaking to my father. How am I going to explain to my kids that we aren't going there for Christmas? No matter how we try to fake that Christmas will be "just as fun" because they all get to be together, things are changed forever. I have to somehow find a way to accept it, and move on. It's never easy letting go of a part of your life that was such a dear to your heart tradition.