The Only Gift I Ever Ask For


Ok. I have to share something. I love a “good coffee” talk. I am after all a Jewish New Yorker…well, except I drink tea.

I have to tell you what I got for the holidays. It wasn’t what I asked for, but it ended up being perfect. (Moms don’t need a lot anyway; we don’t need more stuff.)

I got an INFJ, creator, writer, entrepreneur, neurodivergent Jewish mother’s literal dream come true. If you fit in any of those, or randomly share the same identities, I hope you won’t be too jealous.

…I got a week home alone over the holidays.

For 6+ days I ate when and what I wanted, did the dishes when I was goddamn ready to (after several days), slept in and stayed up very late.

I just existed, as me, and yes, it was goddamn amazing.

What about Christmas?!

Of course, I know about Christmas…it’s kind of hard to miss!

What you may not know is that some people really, actually, 100%, god’s honest truth do not celebrate Christmas. I want you to know…that we’re a-okay. You don’t need to worry, or be shocked, or sad.

It’s true, some of us choose to not celebrate Christmas…cray right? Not exactly.

ICYMI, the world is not a Christian world (despite their imperialist, missionary efforts). Not everyone loves Jesus, and what might surprise you even more: not everyone loves American capitalism spending till you’re broke. For some, the pressure to spend and the amount of stuff we already have is anxiety inducing enough, is a lot.

There are plenty of us who are quite okay with opting out. Some may do it occasionally, others never opted in to begin with.

Don’t wonder allowed why we’re not on vacation because “I mean, isn’t everyone out? I mean no one is working.”

Don’t mourn or pity those who don’t “do” Christmas. I spent 27 years without it, and now every few years when I opt out, I feel fine. Christmas is draining! Time to exist fully as yourself, however, is deeply restorative.

Sure, okay. But like, what did you do, for real?

Really? NOTHING, and it was brilliant.

Slept till noon, laundry, wrote, texted a few people, and walked the dog. Best day ever, right? It is if you’ve ever traveled anywhere around the holidays, have a full-of-life family, and really love the quiet.

For many, Christmas was just a Saturday (Sunday?). Some of us were blessed to stay home, to be alone, to nap, to play scrabble, or sleep till noon. We didn’t have to use all our spoons or even put on shoes. We can be social any Saturday.

Please keep musings like “But it’s not religious!” to yourself. If people want to celebrate they will and if not, reminding them that Christmas has nothing to do with Jesus Christ probably won’t change hearts and minds.

The winter holidays are lovely, but for many New Year’s is just a day too, and that suits them just fine.

I make it through “The Holidays” just fine…especially since my “Holidays” (with a capital H) are in the fall, including my New Year.

I enjoy time by myself.

No one should be all alone on Christmas!

It’s a big, diverse, beautiful world with amazing cultures and traditions, all of which should be celebrated however you choose, but don’t pressure others.

Checking in on others is lovely. Making sure that anyone who wants to be included has a place to go is solid human move. We’re not all alone, (le sigh). We’re ALL ALONE!! (Sweet!)

But come on…what about presents?! You missed out.

Do you know the perfect gift to surprise a neurodivergent mom with? Trick question! Like many NDs, I hate surprises…loathe them to the core of my being.

A present that I don’t know I am getting might as well be coal in a stocking. What do I not like about surprises? The lack of agency, knowledge, mental preparation…the lack of them factoring in the 1,743 things I would have, the worry about how much it cost and if I have reciprocated at the right level. Then, being the jerk because you didn’t jump up and down and show gratitude, merely because you can’t stop calculating and your brain will take 10 minutes to process enough to produce the thank you.

Why would you do all that to a person and call it a gift?!

My gift was perfect. I knew it was coming, it was free, and I got to enjoy it more and more everyday.

Whenever I’m asked what I want, I always say just give me time. Time without guilt or expectations. Time to partake in true, actual, self-centered leisure and fun (what I want to do and what I consider fun). Time to think and to write… and to be. Time is the only true currency.

I have zero FOMO.

Don’t you miss everyone?

Of course! I love my fam to the core of my being (equal to the amount I loathe surprises)!

I love being the trusted advisor, the go to. They all want my opinion before decision; I’m the touch stone for a unit of humans. I have to know their every feeling as they are having it…and for that I am eternally grateful. I am blessed that they want to tell me things, and I want to hear them.

I love how much information all 3 of them MUST impart on me immediately, because they have to tell me NOW, or faint. They cannot wait to tell me things, often texting as they walk in the door.

This past week, I spent long spaces of lazing, interrupted only by the desire to clean out a junk drawer or watch a show and intermittently walk the dog. Did I mention hours on end with no interruptions?

I’m the person they want to process their day with; their complex emotions (half the time, hunger), ailments (a weird itch), their missing item (that I always find) — all mine! All their relationship challenges with work/friends/other family — all mine too!

I am a night owl who got a week with naps, weird mealtimes and sleeping till noon nearly every day. Minus an ice storm, it was a quiet introverts’ paradise. Even the streets were silent, empty, slowed to a stop.

It’s a lot, but to be that worthy of someone’s head and heart, of 3 “someone’s” is pretty amazing.

I adore how loud and full of life they all are.

Their laughter that travels 3 floors. Taylor Swift blasting from the kitchen. My partner who has one volume (booming), especially on calls, is a sometimes-loud sleeper (catathrenia), and always has the TV at shake the house volumes. I love their house-shaking jumps and clickety-clack typing overhead that makes me think they’re mad at that keyboard.

For most of the past week the only thing that I heard (besides my constant tinnitus) was my dog barking, my constant echolalia everytime I had to transition to actually do something (come in, go out), or the few times I talked to people (more than half of that was for work).

I love my teen who talks only about one world right now (friends, and sometimes food) and my 9 year old who talks nonstop, just like mom (mostly fascinating facts or food that isn’t “just right”…also like mom).

My family is precious. I love how we take care of each other. When I’m not with my fam, for Christmas or any other time, I look forward to our reunion.

Most of all, I love my fam for understanding that, for me, a few days of quiet time is an equally treasured gift.

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Photo by author: “A rare moment spent out of bed this past week.”

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