tori ornamentAt her current facility, no one has visitors on Christmas Eve or Christmas. The reason will make you cry: There are no visitors on those days because so many of the kids (young teens to young adults) have no one to come see them.

Because of this, they all celebrate together. They open the gifts, shopped for by staff. They have a Christmas dinner, Christmas activities, a facility “family” celebration.

My son and I will celebrate “Christmas” with my daughter on December 30 this year. We will take the 3+ hour drive, talking and catching up. I look forward to this time with my son.

All of my daughter’s gifts, which will fill my little car (not because we spoil her; birthday and Christmas are the only occasions for gifts at her facility and I like to make sure she has plenty to wear…plenty of socks, undergarments, clothing, shoes), have been pre-approved, tags removed and her name written on them. We will pick up a pizza at the last shopping area before heading out through the cornfields and woods. When we arrive, we will wait by the locked door for staff to admit us to have lunch and watch my daughter will open her gifts. (My son will open the gift she made for him, too.) We will keep the conversation light and laugh together, enjoying our short, two hour visit, before the very long, mostly quiet, drive home.

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