A few weeks ago I saw on Facebook that a local hospital was having a Sensitive Santa event. Children who have sensory issues and/or autism could schedule a special time to visit Santa. No waiting in line at a crowded mall. This is amazing. I decided I was going to call the next morning and make an appointment for Mikayla and Hope to meet Santa Claus.
A very nice lady named Mary answered the phone. She began to ask questions about the girls. Is there anything they needed to be aware of that might bother the girls? Do they have any food allergies? Is there a special snack they would enjoy? She said there would be a photographer and we would receive a flash drive with pictures free of charge. Santa would be giving each of our girls a gift. Mikayla and Hope would meet Santa on December 17th at 1:00.
The girls were super excited when they woke up on the 17th. Hope kept saying “Santa’s gonna give me a present!” I asked her what kind of present she thought he would give her. She said “A candy cane!” I knew Santa was going to give them something much better than a candy cane. But it was nice knowing Hope would be happy with just a candy cane.
We were met at the front door and a nice man led us to Santa’s private suite. I told Mikayla and Hope to go first and we would follow them. The girls were acting a bit shy but they were brave and went through the door first. Santa gave a jolly greeting. “Well…….Hello Mikayla and Hope!” Santa had a jolly laugh that made all of us giggle.
Mikayla marched right up to Santa and sat on his lap.
He told her that he had a present for her. Mikayla’s eyes lit up with excitement. Santa helped her open the package. It was a set of Melissa and Doug stainless steel pots and pans for her play kitchen.
Hope got really excited as she watched Mikayla open her present because she knew that Santa was going to have a present for her too. What did Santa get for her? It was finally her turn. She quickly ran up to Santa and jumped in his lap.
And sure enough Santa had a present with Hope’s name on it. She grinned from ear to ear as Santa helped her unwrap the package. It was a Melissa and Doug Mixer set.
The girls stood and gazed at their new presents. They talked excitedly about their new toys and what they were going to cook in their play kitchen. Santa asked them to make him some cookies. He said chocolate chip cookies are his favorite. The girls thought that he was funny. The ladies who were helping Santa kept saying “They are so cute!” Yes they were. Our girls were absolutely adorable.
They hugged Santa and thanked him for the presents. Then we went to the snack room. The girls ate goldfish crackers and drank milk and juice. All four of our girls were given a gift card to McDonald’s. A lady printed out some pictures of the girls with Santa for us to take with us. I was so thankful for such a wonderful day with Santa.
This day wasn’t just about our girls meeting Santa Claus. It was so much more than that. Kids who have sensory issues are often overwhelmed by the world they live in. They spend every day of their life trying to adapt to a world that is too loud and overwhelming. Standing in a long line to see Santa in a loud, crowded mall can end with tears, a meltdown. and a lot of disappointment. But on this day the world adapted to our girls. We didn’t wait in a long line. We were escorted to see Santa as soon as we entered the building. Santa booked a quiet, private suite. He set aside 20 minutes of his time just to be with our girls. There was chocolate milk for Mikayla and white milk for Hope. Our older girls were recognized and given a gift because someone who planned this day understands that having 2 sisters with special needs isn’t easy. Taylor deserves a couple of frappes from McDonald’s and Brynna deserves some french fries, an apple pie, and a large Sprite.
This day brought hope back into my life. The hope that there will be more days like this in our future. That our future won’t always be spent adapting to an overwhelming world. But that maybe, just maybe, the world will find moments to adapt to our girls and help them to not be so overwhelmed by their world. I’m so thankful for this day. This day when we didn’t have to stand in a line. This day with no tears. This day with no meltdowns. This day when our girls found total acceptance. The day that Sensitive Santa came to town.