Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Visiting Santa

Visiting Santa and being autistic can be akin to oil and water. They just don't mix.  Just like other kids, autistic kids get scared of Santa.  However, B has always loved Santa.  We've had some times when he was scared but not any more than other kiddos.  Our trouble is the line.  B can not do lines.  Too long, too many people, too much!

Four years ago, I tried to take B to meet Santa at a sporting goods store. Their website wasn't very clear about the process and I thought Wednesday night would be a good time to go. I can't remember why it was just B & I but I suspect football had something to do with it.

The store is large and overwhelming in it's own right.  They deck the bottom level out like a Santa's workshop.  We managed to get through the store and to the back, bottom level.  The check in desk had a sign that said "No more tickets to see Santa".  When I spoke to the employee she told me I should have come at 2:30 (it was around 6 pm at this point) to get a ticket.  I asked, "So, there's no way to see Santa tonight?" Nope.

B freaked out "I can't see Santa? Have a been bad? Is that why he wouldn't see me?" We sat down in the middle of the floor, I cradled him and let him cry a minute.  When he was able to pull it together a bit, we left the store.  He was still so confused, wondering if he was a bad boy.

I was heartbroken.  Actually, I still am. I'm tearing up a bit typing this.  I felt guilty, had I understood the process better, we would not be in this situation.  When I got him into his car seat, I slumped in the front seat tears rolling down my face.  I whipped out my phone, let Ryan know what happened then posted to Facebook looking for Santas who made appointments.  We didn't find one that year but Mrs. Claus called B!

Last year, I discovered The Big Guy at The Villages of Fairview.  It was such an awesome experience.  Santa was awesome with B. B brought him a gift of a self created Lego toy.  Santa accepted it graciously.  I cried happy tears.

We continued the tradition this year.  Our appointment is the first after their dinner break so there is no line.  It was a friend affair this year as well - 4 kids and moms.  We checked in, waiting less than 5 minutes, then B was the first to visit with Santa.  After our friends visited, Santa got them all together for a group picture.  We topped off the evening with dinner at Twisted Root.

It's a bit of drive from our house but so worth it.  Santa is wonderful, patient and kind, as are the elves!  The whole process took 30 minutes, including purchasing pictures.  The pictures are wonderful and they video the visit. You don't have to anything but enjoy the experience.  I highly recommend it!

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