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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: It’s Christmas Day (in the present or living memory) (11/27/08)

TITLE: My Guys
By Nancy Higginson


“It’s Christmas,” many of them have been saying since just after Halloween. They do not understand that retailers put up Christmas trees in October but we must wait for December. Excitement builds with each outing to the craft store or the dollar store, as the stores are filled with Christmas. Showing them the calendar doesn’t work for most; the span of days does not matter. “It’s Christmas,” they repeat.

Behaviors increase as Thanksgiving approaches. The excitement they feel just cannot be contained, nor can it be expressed in acceptable ways. Too excited to be calm, they yell, they throw things, they tear up papers, and hit people. Always on our toes, our tension increases; they feel it and respond. Calm music and quiet activities are offered, as we try to regain what little control we can have. Wednesday is here. Pumpkin pie with whipped cream and a cup of hot cocoa. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving popped into the VCR. Such simple things bring so much joy to them. Peace for the rest of the day.

“It’s Christmas,” they will say as we begin the decorating on Monday. Paper chains, popsicle stick reindeer, pipe cleaner candy canes. Busy projects to make the time pass. We will color Christmas trees, paint paper angels. Splashes of color and joy will fill the building. We will send notes home about lunch parties and gift exchanges - notes sent home always mean good things and they are excited. Excitement will build as we put up the tree, and they help decorate it with the ornaments they have made this year and in years past.

On Christmas Eve their day will be happy, full of excitement. We will place the gifts under the tree, keeping a close eye that no one tries to open them. Christmas music will play, and we will have games with prizes. We will put all the tables together at lunch, and as a family we will eat. Everyone will be on their best behavior, not wanting any chances of consequences spoiling their day. Lunch will finish; they will be impatient while the clean up chores are hurried through. We will gather the chairs around the tree. Presents will be passed out and opened one at a time. Everyone will be happy; we have done our best to give them a great day. At four o’clock we will wish each other a Merry Christmas with hugs all around. We will be tired, but it will be a good tired, as we head for our homes, our families.

My children are grown, there is no magic in Christmas for them anymore. But for “my guys” there will always be magic in Christmas. And my magic comes from bringing it to them. On Christmas I will pray that their group homes will take the time and trouble to give them a wonderful Christmas. “My guys” will always depend on someone else to make Christmas special for them. They do not know the true meaning of Christmas, but I do and will continue show them His love through me.

Footnote: Working with the developmentally disabled has many challenges, but it also has many rewards. While the politically correct term my company uses is Consumers, I call them “My guys”. My guys are very special to me and have blessed me with a chance to continue to nurture and teach long past the time that my own children need me. I feel a vital need in the lives of my guys and they, in turn, fill one in mine.

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This article has been read 451 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 12/05/08
I have a huge soft spot in my heart for the developmentally disabled, and you wrote this with great affection.

I'll admit that it took me a while to catch on to who you were writing about, though. Maybe if you'd make that clearer in the first paragraph?

I love the title, and that you call them "my guys". How sweet!
Karlene Jacobsen12/10/08
This was really nice. Your "guys" are handled with such care.
I have to admit, at first I thought you were talking about your sons, then students from a teacher's perspective.
Well written.
Diana Dart 12/10/08
This was beautiful. I really loved that you were a bit mysterious about who your "guys" were, it added to the Ahhhh factor when I found out. Well written, with a really interesting voice, very loving.
Dee Yoder 12/10/08
What a wonderful way to be able to keep that magical part of Christmas in your life, long after your children are grown! Wonderful story full of love and happiness.
Catrina Bradley 12/10/08
They may not know the meaning of Christmas, but "your guys" know Jesus through you. Very nice entry! Well written, flows great, and I love the last line.
Teresa Lee Rainey12/10/08
This is such a special and unique story. I love that your mc is so caring. How great that her 'guys' have someone who loves them and takes such gentle care with them. :)
Dee Yoder 12/11/08
Congratulations on your Highly Commended! Writing talent must run in the family. (:
Beth LaBuff 12/12/08
From a few comments by Hoomi I gathered you worked with people. Your "guys" must be very blessed to have you in their lives. This is a wonderful entry! I'm so glad it placed. Will you have your own name on FW, or will you be called Mrs. Hoomi?