Does the average 15 year-old these days have any sense of money? I think most kids, at least the ones from middle-class families, who have never known a hungry day -struggle with what it means to do without. These boys have never lived in government housing as I did growing up. They have always lived in a house, one house better than the next. There has never been a Christmas (that they knew about) that we struggled to get presents under the tree. We've had them, but they didn't know that we had to charge nearly everything and took months to pay it off.
We are trying to instill some values in them. It ain't easy!
This year we told Red for Christmas he will get money as a gift from us. It will not be enough money for the 1080p HD video camcorder. He will have to add whatever he gets from his relatives, scrimp, save, sell his old camera, work, do chores or whatever it takes to get the rest of the money. We hope that way he will at least get a glimpse into what it's like to have to wait and save for something of such value. Mom and Dad are not going to simply hand it over.
If we continue on the same course, what the heck will he ask for next year? Or I should say, next month because undoubtedly he will be asking for something else within weeks of Christmas.
He does work periodically editing videos for friends and family members, sometimes even for teachers at school. He makes an introduction, transitions, mixes still photos with video and ends it with a list of credits like a professional movie.
Luckily, his dad has a work-related video project that he can work on over the break that he will pay him for. This will add to his savings. At the same time, hopefully it will keep him occupied some over the break.
Last night, Blue blew a gasket when I told him he could stop editing his list because I'm done shopping. In his eyes that means I'm not getting him anything he asked for. I can't tell you how he arrived at that deduction.
"Do you have any idea how much I am worried about Christmas!?" he said.
I left the house to meet my husband for dinner while Blue wasn't talking to me. By the time I came home, he had taken a nap, calmed down and sincerely apologized. Not like the scripted apology I often get from Red as he continues doing whatever it is that he is apologizing for.
I will have to admit, Red sent me a very eloquently written e-mail with his list. (Actually he has sent me about 6 revised lists.) The e-mail was well thought out, structured, very detailed and the grammar was perfect. He even came across as asking, not demanding. Maybe all of his communication should be in writing. When he gets to talking -there's no telling what will come out of his mouth.
Sometimes when I repeat back to him what he has said he tells me, "You can't listen to everything I say! I didn't mean that."
That's another fabulous Asperger's trait -being brutally honest, and sometimes talking without thinking. There is definitely no planning or thought of how what he is saying sounds or how it makes another person feel.
I can not say here, in this forum what will really be under the tree this year. What I can promise is that we will be creative and do the best that we can with the resources we have.
The boys don't know this yet...but we're going to spend next week shopping for another family who is less fortunate than we are. Think it will make them pay attention and have a little more gratitude?
That is my Christmas wish.