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Christmas 2014

merryNobody I know loves Christmas as much as Schuyler. This might seem surprising, given her own oft-expressed atheism. (Believers who are worried about her soul’s peril might be slightly relieved to hear that she recently expressed some wiggle room on the question of the existence of God.) But Schuyler loves the music of the season, and the gift-giving (and the gift-getting, because she’s no fool), and the general positivity of the season. Schuyler Noelle, who has as much reason to believe otherwise as anyone, has a seemingly bottomless faith in the goodness of people. She’s better at being a human than just about anyone I know.

This can be a tricky time of year for families of disability. Just the logistics of the holidays can be challenging. Routines are upended, expectations of normalcy from friends and family are suddenly elevated, and the pressure to participate with a smile on your face can clash jarringly with the complicated emotions of navigating this world, emotions that feel even less comfortable when the world seems to be screaming “Be merry, damn it!” in your face.

When I think of the holidays, I try to focus on the things that Schuyler seems to tap into. I worry less about the gifts and the parties (which is for the best, given my wee little budget and my social grouchiness). Instead, I try to appreciate the ways that the world sometimes stops in its tracks and extends a loving eye and a helpful hand to those who might just need a little extra assistance.

This year, in this most complicated of seasons, I want to reach out to every member of our disability community, particularly the parents whose love is inexhaustible but whose work is never done, and I’d like to extend a wish for you.

As the world around you celebrates the charity of the season and expresses peace on earth and goodwill towards all, I hope that in your own lives, you find that the world very much means it. I hope that your season is filled with love and with an easing of the parts that break your backs, and your hearts. And I hope that when the season has passed, the world doesn’t go back to being quite such a hard place.

I also want to say thank you to all of you. It remains a great privilege for me to write for you, and to learn from you. I wish the happiest of holidays to you all.

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