I hope the festive season is all that you hoped for, that santa was kind and loved ones (where possible) were near. I have a story that I’d like to share, it’s my interpretation of what Christmas means and it doesn’t involve a Mary, or a donkey – it does however involve an awesome thirteen year old called Zoe and some light up Polar Bears.
Let’s set the scene…it’s mid December and just before the real FC jumps in his sleigh and works some serious overtime the wonderful local Lions charity come around our village with a santa representative on a sleigh (back of a van) with loud music, lights and elves that collect change but also give the children gifts. Last year my little man adored it but sadly for all sorts of reasons the event wasn’t happening this year.
Enter the heroine of this story, Zoe. I’ve never met Zoe but I have read Facebook messages from her mum on our village page. Zoe has the gift of Autism which means traditions are sacred to her daily structure and the Lions charity event formed part of her Christmas preparations. However it wasn’t the disruption to herself that was the cause of her angst, she was devastated that the children in our village would miss out…
In her words: ‘the children won’t get flutterbys (excited) if santa doesn’t come or give an early present. Mummy can we make a grotto in our garden? I will buy the presents myself with my pocket money and the children can come here to get flutterbys…I don’t want the children to be sad.’
Zoe took her own pocket money and bought lots of toys, she wrapped them and then a few days before Christmas, she (via her Mum on the Facebook page) invited the children of the village to her front garden, lights ( some seriously cute polar bears), sweets and a gifts were on offer and best of all (in my little mans eyes) a snow machine.
Her Mum mean while was worried that nobody would attend. We did and so did many others. Unfortunately we arrived too early to meet Zoe as she was overwhelmed by the people and the noises and stayed in her room, popping in and out when she could. For Zoe the event that was a few hours in length caused sleepless nights and an abundance of anxiety. However, an update on the Facebook site later that evening thanking everyone for coming and mentioned that she did come down, stayed and even spoke to some people. That’s seriously courageous.
I’m blessed to work with teenagers aged eleven to sixteen and they often have a bad reputation. I’ve also worked with Autistic children for most of my working life. The behaviour issues and negativity of the condition are well known rather than the potential they offer. At a time when people are consumed by wants and desires; Zoe made the choice to give to complete strangers, she has taught my family about love, compassion and giving which is what the season is really about, isn’t it?
The event also meant that Zoe had to defeat the constraints that Autism can have in order to be part of the event, she was resilient and in my opinion brave. For one evening she over came the fear, the sensory overload and she won. She won my heart and she taught me and my son the true meaning of Christmas.
*Thank you to Zoe and her Mum for letting me share this tale with you all.
12 thoughts on “Zoe’s Christmas wish ”
What a beautiful story – I think you are so right to talk about autism as a ‘special gift’ – what a brave and kind girl Zoe is – such a sweet think of her and her Mum to do. I hope the evening set her up for a lovely Christmas and that you guys had a good one too. xx
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Oh happy new year Hun x thanks for reading 📖 I thought it was too important not to write
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Aw that’s a beautiful story. I think Zoe was brave too and I love that she tried to overcome her struggles to make other children happy. Thanks so much for sharing.
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Thanks BFF x
What an amazing story#datdesh@_karendennis
OMG you just made me cry! I love love love this. Way to go Zoe what a bloody inspiration and thanks for sharing this on behalf of all parents of amazing autistic kids. xx
You’re totally welcome. I might write a follow up to this – that was 2yrs a go. Thanks to Zoe we now have a village sleigh that visits every home in our village. All done by Zoe and her elves.
What a brilliant story! What a girl! #thesatsesh
Wow, Zoe is wonderful. She has a heart full of love and generosity. Pen x #thesatsesh
She really does
I remember reading this lovely heartwarming story before – thanks for sharing again. xx #thesatsesh