A Beloved Christmas Classic?

The infamous train ride

Christmas Eve with all its talent show shenanigans was always at Mom’s house. I had the privilege of hosting Jesus’s birthday breakfast at my home. We would begin the morning with cinnamon rolls shaped like a Christmas tree and sing Happy Birthday to our Savior. After that the presents and mayhem would begin.

Stockings, even to this day have always been my kids favorite. It was a good transition for us to sort gifts, grab our coffees and get settled. We tried to do round robin, where we took turns ooohing and ahhhing as each person opened their presents, but it never worked. Noah tore into each gift like a bulldozer. Chris, my step-father’s OCD kicked in and he would try to match Noah’s unwrapping with equal parts clean up.

This particular year Noah was not enjoying the season as he usually had. Every time I brought out decorations, he would hide and shake. We would ask what was wrong, but he didn’t have the ability to communicate what was troubling him. We had mechanical deer we would put out by our side yard each winter. We would string lights along the fence and around the arbor and the deer would light up and move their heads up and down. In Christmas’ past Noah had tried to put the leash on them and take them for a walk. Sometimes he would try to feed them dog food. However this year, he had an absolute meltdown! He screamed and cried until we finally put them away. What in the world was wrong? No one in the family could get to the bottom of Noah’s aversion to the deer and the decorations.

The week before Christmas we joined the Down Syndrome Community-and took a holiday train ride through Hockessin. All the homes were lit up, carols were being sung. It was a picturesque night! Noah was subdued but wearily watching everyone at a safe distance. As we rounded the corner everyone started clapping and whistling, there on the side of the track, was a house with a zillion lights. It was an absolute feast for the eyes. It had inflatables, Santa and all his reindeer…I inhaled ready for a meltdown…..it never came. Hmmmm, maybe we had moved past the hysteric festival phase?

The thing about the Western Railroad is, on the ride out you get to view one side of the tracks. When they come to Mt. Cuba, the caboose becomes the engine and you switch seats to see the other side. Santa came through the cars handing out candy canes, Noah waved cautiously to him. Joe and I locked eyes, congratulating each other. Noah and Malia were looking out the window as we were almost to the end, when Noah out of the blue, started his Christmas Meltdown, but this time it was a level 1,000! Thankfully the Down Syndrome community was very understanding and parents gave us encouraging glances instead of condemning glares.

We hurried off the train, as soon as it stopped. What in the world happened? Malia, our special needs expert, started to recall the events that led up to his hysterics. She told us the house had cartoon cutouts of the figures from Rudolph. Weird, Noah had never seen that movie. Why would he be afraid of a cartoon cutouts?

The next day, Stacey and her kids came to exchange presents with my kids. I started telling her about the train ride and Noah’s outburst. All of a sudden her son Alex, chimed in….”Noah doesn’t like Rudolph!”

After asking Alex for an explanation, he told us that he was Noah’s buddy at Embrace Ministry. For the December respite, they played the reindeer classic. When it got to the part of the abominable snowman Noah freaked out!

Light bulb! So that explains the sudden fear of the deer. The cartoon cutouts had the yeti right by the tracks! Thanks to Alex the mystery was finally solved. To this day if Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer plays on the radio or in a store, Noah covers his ears and cringes.

As we opened our presents that minimally decorated Christmas, ( thanks, Bumble) Noah’s one request was to get a tool belt, just like Daddy’s. We found a cute little leather one with mini tools, a hard hat and rainbow suspenders. Noah wanted to put on an encore from the previous nights show. He went into our bedroom to put on his fixer gear. We all were eating and drinking waiting for Noah to appear. All of a sudden, Noah strides into the room completely naked sans suspenders and tool belt!

Now that would have been a winner at our family talent show for sure! 😳

3 thoughts on “A Beloved Christmas Classic?

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