Blog  /  Special Needs  /  SPECIAL SANTA and the Legacy Lives On

12
Dec
2018

There was always great joy around our home at CHRISTmas. Santa visited us personally every year and the kids loved it! He first had to grab the costume I made from our closet, and needed help putting on the beard, pillow under his belt, hair and hat on his head. Different shoes and gloves covered the “usual” tell tale sign that he was really Grandpa Ferrini!

He would “HO HO HO” to each of the kids schools, got to stores if they needed him, and would make special trips to nursing homes. One of our greatest joys is that he made it a special point to share about Jesus everywhere he went. Doubly important was that it was so much nicer to have him at our house where there weren’t crowds, and where our son with special needs wasn’t afraid of him. We remember a time our youngest (Kathleen) was misbehaving while I was giving her a haircut. She heard Santa coming down the stairs and knew she had to shape up. She didn’t want to, but everything within her she tried to pull it together! Joey, our son with special needs never figured it was grandpa even though grandma always came with him as Mrs. Claus and was not concealed in any way…..our girls (Kristina and Kathleen) eventually recognized who Santa really was and welcomed the idea that he was one of Santa’s helpers.

Fast-forward to having no one to fill Santa’s suit in our closet, Joe (my husband) began to don it! The girls were older and helped pull off the Santa visit every CHRISTmas Eve. They would help their brother get ready for bed while the rest of our extended family anticipated the visit laying on the floor to watch up in the balcony. I’d helped Joe get ready and he’d sneak outside leaving the front door left unlocked and would enter with a big “HO HO HO!” Joey would come running out of his room as happy as ever welcoming Santa and telling him things as he helped Santa put gifts under the tree. The girls and other “older” kids that lined the balcony enjoyed watching Joey take it all in. After Santa tucked Joey in, he’d leave, change and then “dad” and all of us would go into Joey’s room and he would, with his limited abilities, tell us about Santa’s visit and that we missed it!

This year Joe will don the suit again: for a young man with special needs at his home, at our home for Joey and for our two grandsons who have already figured out their grandpa is the big guy in the red suit. I don’t think they want to believe it but at ages 9 and 6 they surely have it all figured out. It won’t matter….for we’ll probably have them help Santa get ready so they can be part of the fun of surprising Joey (now 37!) who will always believe, and never figure out that Santa is dad. There is something really special and fun about the legend and the legacy of traditions; at least in our home. Santa might not be real, but as he shares about Jesus he is sharing what is real and meaningful and making it a fun memory.

What kinds of special moments have you put into the traditional fibers of your family? Weaving Jesus into the conversation of even the Santa tradition can be done. Enjoy your CHRISTmas, and have a Happy New Year!

 

Joe and Cindi Ferrini

Joe and Cindi have been married since 1979, live in Cleveland, OH, have 3 grown children (one with special needs), grandchildren, and enjoy speaking and writing together on topics related to marriage and family (FAMILYLIFE’S “WEEKEND TO REMEMBER Get-A-Ways” as well as for organizations pertaining to special needs), leadership, and time/life management. Joe has practiced dentistry since 1978; Cindi enjoys writing (books, blogs, articles, etc.), speaking, radio, and social media. Together they have written articles and blogs for Focus on the Family, FamilyLife, http://specialneedsparenting.net and here at FamilyMatters, and authored UNEXPECTED JOURNEY: When Special Needs Change our Course. They’d love to connect with you at: www.joeferrini.com or www.cindiferrini.com

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