Simplicity is a Beautiful Thing

Before, during and after the holidays, I watch others around me rushing around to get things done -- find the perfect gifts, decorate the inside and outside of their homes and offices, plan menus, attend parties, mail Christmas cards, stand in long lines for pictures with Santa; and the list goes on and on.  For our family the holidays have evolved into a beautiful moment of simplicity.

You see, Josh has taught us a few things through the years.  Although he is severely mentally impaired, he has the ability to make us look through all the hubbub and know what's most important. 

For example, when he was younger we couldn't seem to get him to join in the excitement surrounding "Santa is coming!"  He just didn't get it.  This was particularly difficult for my daughter, Jennifer, who is 8 years older than Josh and had always had what I would call a magnified excitement for Santa.  So one year, she decided to put an end to this nonsense and she bought (with her own money) one of those eight foot tall blow up Santa yard ornaments.  When you plug it in, it fills with air and lights up and has a soothing fan sound (which is a sensory dream come true for someone with autism).  Before they went to bed that Christmas eve, she read to Josh "Twas the Night Before Christmas" and said to him a number of times "Josh, Santa is going to come and bring us presents while we're sleeping."  "Santa is coming!"  She said that phrase enough to where Josh repeated it copying her excited voice.  At an early age, my daughter learned that Josh required visual and verbal ques, and a whole bunch of them, to understand just about anything.  And so, they both went to bed and in the wee hours of the morning, Jennifer came downstairs, plugged in that 8 foot tall Santa placing it right in front of Josh's favorite chair.  She went back upstairs to wake him and tell him that "Santa came, Josh!!!!"  "Santa came!"  "Let's go see!"

Jen and Josh came downstairs. When Josh came around the corner and spotted Santa ...{choking up}....he got the biggest smile on his face and the most beautiful twinkle in his eyes I have ever seen.  It was magnificent.  Fast forward many years later, and we still have this tradition.  And, we still get the same magnificent, beautiful moment of simplicity.


  1. Ahhh! I love this! I love the love the prompted his sister to do this for him, I love that you've continued it...I love it all!

  2. Thank you for your encouraging words "Umma" (love that!)! I know I'm just starting, but my entries seem to be more simple than most. I must say it has been very therapeutic for me to write about the joys and challenges that Josh brings to our lives. My family and my friends have told me that they are learning new things about us every time I post. Raising awareness by sharing everyday things is probably a pretty good place to start. Thank you for suggesting this. I may not get to do it often, but when I do, it feels really good.

  3. What a great moment! A "moment" that will last a lifetime! It's awesome to see others "get it". Josh and Jen are lucky to have each other!!

  4. What a dear sister -- I'm thinking like mother/like daughter!