Merry Stress-mas

What this time of year feels like (Photo credit: bottled_void)

As I write this post, I’m sitting out my third major commuter train delay of the week. Happy holidays!

This is always a stressful time of year. It seems like we manage to turn what should be a quiet time spent with family into a rat race. Presents, holiday cards, teacher gifts. Endless baking (for Veronica — I am merely a consumer). On top of that it is an extremely busy period at work. The NHL pauses for Christmas, but there is a not-so-small event on New Years Day that is occupying quite a bit of my time.

In the middle of all that, we received some upsetting news this week. Ryan’s wonderful aide, whose awesome organizational skills and Post-It note prowess do so much to reduce his anxiety, has accepted a full-time teaching position that begins when school resumes in January.

She of course has every right to pursue this opportunity and we are happy for her, but still, this is a major stressor that we have to figure out how to discuss with Ryan over the break. He’s in a good place academically, and that is in no small part due to her efforts.

A replacement will be found, and I’m sure, in time, we will settle back into normal. It’s the interim we fear. As much as Ryan has expressed to us that he does not want an aide, she is essential in keeping him organized and reducing the episodes of crippling anxiety that come when he arrives home unsure of his assignments.

We have perspective, as well. Veronica was discussing the situation with the other parents at Ryan’s social skills group, at least one of whom has filed multiple lawsuits against his local school district to gain services. That has never been our experience, and for that, we are thankful.

We will kick off the school break in the best way possible tonight: at a Devils game. Ryan is even bringing a new friend, a major milestone. The opponent is the Anaheim Ducks, the team Ryan hates above all others.

I can pretty much guarantee Ryan will be the only person at tonight’s game wearing a San Jose Sharks jersey. He insisted on wearing one the last time Anaheim was in town, so he could taunt all the Ducks fans in attendance. We found maybe two, but Ryan ran up and popped the crest of his jersey for them. The reaction was one of confusion, but Ryan was deeply satisfied that he had properly repped his team. Yes, it was obnoxious. It was also endearing, and even somewhat social. It was another opportunity for me to point out how sports can spark a conversation between total strangers.

I’ll have to keep Ryan’s trash-talking in check if we spy any Ducks fans tonight. A friend who works for the Sharks sent an email this week in which he asked me to tell Ryan that the team is winning for him. I don’t need Ryan fighting for their honor tonight.

In a few days all the presents will be purchased and wrapped. All the cards that are going to be sent will be in the mail. And we’ll have time together as a family, time to figure out how to break the news about his aide to Ryan.

Right now it feels like a little too much, like the rat race is getting the better of us. This too shall pass. I know how many blessings I have in my life. I’m looking forward to being reminded of that, starting tonight by my hockey-loving, Sharks-repping, trash-talking, friend-having son.


3 thoughts on “Merry Stress-mas

  1. Those big changes are hard, I hope it goes smoothly. At least you have the break from school to break it to him and come up with some strategies for him to feel comfortable in the new year. Have fun at the game!


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