‘Just nothing’ might be pretty good gift

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 21, 2011

When we ask what she wants for Christmas, my youngest daughter says, “just nothing.” It is interesting and rare to live with a child who has no list of desires, no large or small gift wish.

For the last year or so, she came up with a few things she wanted, but I think it was her giving us an answer so we would stop asking. This year she quit trying to come up with answers and gave the “just nothing” reply.

I’m having a hard time when it comes to Christmas and this child. While I want to put something wonderful under the tree for her, I realize because she didn’t ask for it in the first place, it won’t get much, if any, attention once she enjoys unwrapping the gift.

So, I am looking at why I feel a need to impose what I think her Christmas should be instead of going with what she tells me she wants. I rationalize my wanting to buy stuff for her by deciding it is autism and her difficulty with communicating that keeps her from having a mile long list of things she wants. But maybe that is in my head.

Why is it difficult to grasp that she is content with what she has and isn’t interested in adding more stuff to her life? Perhaps she understands in a way that most of us don’t that getting more things doesn’t equal more happiness and contentment. Sometimes it just means more stuff to deal with and that only complicates life.

Of course, she did come up with something when her siblings kept asking her what she wanted. She told her sister Crocs. The same thing she asked for from her for several years — red is the color she wanted this Christmas.

Pressed more, she told her brother, Tim, candy, which is probably one thing she really does want a lot of and probably doesn‘t need so much of. She let her brother, Ken, off the hook this year and said “just nothing” again and again when asked what she wanted from him.

I think the red shoes and candy were her way to silence her more persistent siblings.

This past weekend we had our holiday gathering at Tim’s house in Hoover and it was a wonderful day. The red Crocs were under the tree and Tim came through on the candy in grand fashion with a bag full of chocolate kisses and the Reese’s candy she loves. She was happy with her two gifts and dove into the candy with a look of pure joy on her face.

Now I’m looking to Christmas morning and I’ve managed to come up with a couple of gifts I think she will like, but I feel unsettled with her having only two gifts. Again, I’m probably putting my feelings into her head by thinking she needs more than two.

So, has this child of few words once again taught me a big lesson about being contented with life? Definitely.

Will she still have more than two gifts under the tree? Yes, because I‘m still learning the lesson.

Will one of those gifts be chocolate candy? Probably.