What I Did on My Christmas Vacation…



I took an ill-advised Dayquil way too late in the day and now I’m huddled in the corner of a hotel room typing away in the dark like a regular tweaker. I’m the last of the clan to succumb to this beastly, mutant virus and it has made our trip to Palm Springs more of an endurance exercise than a vacation.

Here’s a pic from our hike in Joshua Tree. A worthy endurance exercise if ever there was one.


T got tired and lay down in the middle of the trail:


We’ve been here for a few days because we felt like we needed a non-work-related family getaway. I try to keep this blog fairly humorous most of the time, but I have to get real and say that it’s been hard lately. T’s anxiety, aggression and control issues are through the roof. I’m digging deeper than I ever thought possible and still sometimes find myself losing my patience and snapping in ways I’m not proud of.

I believe we’re facing the fallout of T’s early childhood trauma. I console myself with the knowledge that I have a tremendous number of resources and a strong community of parents who have grappled with similar challenges. I’m discovering that feeling theoretically prepared for a high-needs child and actually dealing with the daily reality, particularly when I’m feeling off my game, is a very different thing. I know that we’ll get through this together and that we’ll emerge wiser on the other side. I’m just not sure how yet.

On the flip side, there is the unbearable sweetness of Christmas morning…

Best Ever Christmas morning quote:

Dad: (pointing to the brand new bike with the big red bow) What did Santa bring you?
Tariku: (pointing to the chair next to it, which has been there for years) A CHAIR!


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7 thoughts on “What I Did on My Christmas Vacation…

  1. “I’m disocovering that feeling theoritically prepared for a high-needs child and actually dealing with the daily reality, particularly when I’m feeling off my game, is a very different thing.”

    Ain’t it the truth.

    (Also sitting in the dark with my laptop in my lap, alas no drugs (elicit or otherwise) to blame.

  2. I think every mom loses patients at some point. Just keep doing the best you can. That’s what I strive for every day. Just do the best you can 🙂 Peace to you and your family!

  3. A CHAIR!! Ha! 🙂

    So sorry to hear y’all are having some tough times. I’m not sure if you’ve elaborated before and I missed it, but is T’s early childhood trauma from something other than being separated from his birth family? I can imagine there’s enough trauma in that alone, so I hope it’s not more, but I’m just curious to know if something else makes him a high-needs child? Sorry if I sound clueless or insensitive. My mind keeps working its way back to adoption every couple of months. But to be honest, I don’t know if I have the ability to raise a low-needs child, let alone a high-needs child. So, now I’m wondering are all adopted children considered high-needs or did you agree to take a high-needs child before T ever came along?

    I’ll be sending you all some loving, calming thoughts. Hang in there! xo!

  4. Hi Jillian,
    I love reading your blog and getting to know you and your family through it. I imagine what you are going through right now is tough- I just shared this latest one with my husband who says he would like to give you a message- “please consider giving Penny Hintz a call- she is a very nice teacher of transcendental meditation as taught by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and I believe she can help with techniques to alleviate your son’s trauma”.

    If you are interested please send me an email and I can put you in touch with her.

    Keep up the great writing… looking forward to reading your novel!!

    Happy New Year!

  5. Hi Jilliana–

    I love reading about your family and seeing the adorable pics. What great, joy-filled smiles you all have.

    I realize Tariku is on his own journey, and I don’t want to compare too closely to my own experience with my 2.5 year old, but I will say that by 8:00 every night–and sometimes much sooner, sometimes by 8:00 AM–I have new insights into how and why people can snap. In fact, evenings often find me standing in awe–or laying prostate in awe–at the continuation of the human race! I feel like I’m being beaten with baseball bats. The padded kind, but still, lots of them, and hard. And then somewhere in between the beatings I’m subsumed by that earth-shaking love, and then the healing, weakening, strengthening wave of toddler adorability obliterates everything. For a minute. Oh my god the cocktail is so intense. There are seven years between my two kids, and lots of days I cling to the memory that four was a big turning point for us last time around.

    Wishing you all the best in the new year! xo

  6. We’ve got the same chair for Sol’s upcoming second birthday- high hopes it helps him with those energy bursts!

    This is a great post….

    Time, time, time….

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