Wednesday, December 9, 2009


I love the spastic flashing lights – yes the ones that could quite possibly cause a seizure in certain susceptible people. I even look forward to the plastic yard nativity scenes, broken Christmas ornaments, and even being thrown out of the “no fall club” after turfing it on an especially inconspicuous piece of black ice. I love the memories that bring a smile as I pull out that childhood Christmas ornament, or the nostalgia felt when you discover year after year that ugly brown and orange, yarn-wrapped-around-popsicle-stick decoration that your third grade teacher gave you. Throwing it away would somehow equate to a memory wipe of the events surrounding that priceless gift.

As all of that adds to my happiness, it’s the memory of Judd’s face when Santa Claus knew his name and that he had been trying hard to brush his teeth twice a day; it’s the memory of watching him top the Christmas tree with the star; it’s the memory of Drew congratulating Clay after a win in his Christmas Classic football game; it’s waking up and plugging in the Christmas tree while the house is still quiet, and staying there for a moment enjoying the magic. It’s as if we need something tangible to tie to those fleeting moments that often otherwise get forgotten if not captured in our hearts.

Each year I reflect upon those who play in my life’s orchestra. There are the staples – my close friends and family who are the violinists, cellos, trumpets, clarinets and flutes. But then there are those who come in and make certain parts of the song special – a chord on the harp, the addition of a classical guitar, a piccolo solo, or the impeccable timing of a cymbal. While the song would never start with the core instruments, it becomes so much more beautiful and harmonic with the addition of those symphonic instruments. The potential of the song to touch the audience becomes stronger. And even though they may not play the melody, the song would not sound the same without them.

Many of you in my life have functioned as piccolos, harps, classic guitars, and cymbals. I’ve been thinking a lot about you the last several weeks and the role you play in my orchestra. I wondered how I might crash the cymbals in your orchestra, or strum a chord on my classic guitar in your life?

What can we do to help someone today? What if you lend a hand to the lady in front of you in the mile long line at Wal-Mart. You know – the one with five kids playing tag around her cart as her baby cries hysterically.

We all have something to give. Every single day. And I believe once we find out what it is and act upon it, our lives will be that much richer.


Dara said...

Lovely sentiments, Leeann! You hit the nail on the head in reminding us what this season is all about.

Alli E. said...

That is beautiful!!

Angie said...

I am reading your book. I am only 67 pages into it, but am encouraged by your devotion to helping and healing your son. My son is not autistic, but he has a learning disability. No one can figure out why he isn't reading in second grade. He is smart when it comes to the big concepts, but the letter sounds are so difficult. I am becoming extremely frustrated with the school system and their attempt at teaching him. I can't wait to finish your book and maybe I may find something in there that will help my boy with his struggles.

Leeann said...

Hi Angie - feel free to email me at leeannwhiffen at gmail dot com. We'll chat!

Ann said...

Leeann, I very much enjoyed reading your book and found much inspiration in it. I have a 5-yr old on the spectrum, now verbal but still a long way to go. Sometimes it's the loneliest, toughest thing to live & deal with, day-in & day-out. God Bless You for writing your book, and hope you & your family have a terrific Christmas! I just started my own blog to help me keep sane & motivated. :-)

Ann said...

Leeann, moms like me today have the resources and support we do due to people like you who have blazed the trail before us -- we stand on your shoulders, and I am extremely grateful to you. Our pediatricians and school system today are on board with helping our children with ASD, and it's not lost upon me that just a few years ago things were very different. I can't believe what you went through on your own to help your son, and now others! Thank you so much for commenting on my blog -- I am thrilled that of all people, it was yours to be the first comment. Happy New Year!