I don't post as much anymore but I couldn't let this moment pass without documenting it. We got to see Santa on Sunday! A million thanks to the organization "Spare Some for Autism" for organizing the absolutely perfect event "Sensitive Santa" at Crabtree Mall. I'll start at the end. Ozzy and I were driving home with Sofie in the backseat and a photo envelope in my hand. "We just took our little girl to see Santa." And Ozzy replied with a smile, "I know."
Last year at this time I never would have imagined we would ever be able to take Sofie to see Santa. Ever. It just seemed like a dream. And a million thanks to our therapists for teaching us ways to get Sofie involved with Christmas. I'll save our fun crafty sensory-lovin' holiday decorating for another post. But through all of these tips we were able to get Sofie excited about Christmas and ready for Santa. The night before taking Sofie to the mall, we said "Sofie we are going to see Santa tomorrow and say 'hi' " and she softly replied "see santa, see santa"
When we arrived at the mall, we made sure to have no expectations of how the visit would go. The organizers were simply amazing. The event took place before the mall opened. We didn't have to deal with loud crowds and the usual mall muzak. All the lights were off and only natural light flooded the quiet mall.
When we arrived at Santa's village we were greeted by a sweet volunteer offering to wait in line while we enjoyed some of the craft and toy tables. "I'll come find you when it's your turn." I looked towards the line and saw a line of other young people wearing "volunteer" shirts. Sofie held our hand as we made our way to the sticker table. Along with a sticker table, there was also a lego table and christmas crafts table-even balloon animals.
It was our turn and we made our way to Santa's red carpet. I crouched down and said to Sofie "There is Santa! Hi Santa." Sofie started jumping up and down really hard and smiling. Sofie was excited to see this Santa she read so much about. We walked up to Santa and he asked for a high five from Sofie. Sofie gave a delicate high-five and even a low-five. Amazing. As we discussed with Sofie earlier, we told her she could try sitting on Santa's lap but didn't have to. Sofie wanted to try but took us very much at our word. She sat on his lap and after about a minute (probably way less, felt longer) she wanted off and got very squirmy and whiny. Afterwards she was proud when we said how proud we were of her. She also seemed emotionally and physically exhausted afterwards and spent much of the walk back to the car resting on my shoulder. I honestly don't think I need anything else this Christmas. That was the best :)
Feeling very thankful this evening.