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Here we are again at the holiday season. For many, it’s a time of tradition- some old, some new. We have those that stuff their turkeys and those that prefer Stove Top (and we call these people The Chosen Ones because they are obviously superior), and we have those that top their yams with marshmallows while others sprinkle them with brown sugar. Some parties are all-out festivities while others are small, intimate gatherings. Yes, for many people, this is a time of family. A time of love and thanksgiving.

But there are also those families that find the holiday season stressful. Tiresome. There are the families that have a child (or even more than one) with issues of past trauma, making the holidays a less than loving affair. Between the tantrums and the hyperactivity, melt downs and let downs after expectations were set far too high, there may be little time left in the day for these Mamas and Papas to give thanks.

This Thanksgiving, if you find that you are the latter family, I want you to do something. Tonight, before the parties and get-togethers and shindigs are in full swing, I want you to walk into your child’s room and make sure that they are fast asleep. Then, I’m going to ask you to do something that your child may not allow you to do while they’re awake. I want you to lay your hands on their head and say a prayer of Thanksgiving for their life. (If you wait and do this after you’ve dealt with the melt downs of tomorrow, it will be soooo much harder, so please, do it tonight!)

And as you place your loving hands on their head, remember that they were created by a God that loves them just as much as He loves you. Remember that He has given you grace to get through the day and to breathe hope into that little life for another 24 hours. Thank God for the ability to see your child, even if just while he or she asleep, through heavenly eyes. And then finally, thank God that it is bedtime and you are finally able to breathe easily and rest for a few hours before the next day begins.

Take those moments that are quiet and find thanks.

But perhaps you are a family that loves your tradition. Your kids get excited about helping in the kitchen and prepping the table for your family and friends to arrive. Maybe your children are the ones that will dress in lovely, fresh outfits and use their manners and NOT be crawling under the table in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner to tantrum because things were not just as they felt they should be in that exact moment in time.

If you are one of those families, I want you to do something, as well. If you would, tonight, after your children are asleep and you’re done peeling your potatoes and prepping your bird, take 5 minutes and send up a prayer for the families that will be facing some stress tomorrow. Ask God to give those parents an extra dose of patience and peace, understanding and calm. If you know one of these families, send those Moms and Dads a loving text, email, phone call… something to let them know that they’ve got all kinds of love and moral support happening for them.

Just like soldiers prep for war, parents of trauma children spend each day prepping for battle, doing battle, and cleaning up the gory remains of battles past. Be their letters from home this holiday season, will you? Prayers, love, and encouragement… they go such a long way.

If you find yourself in need of some extra support, take a look at the MommyhoodSFS Membership Program. You don't have to walk this path alone.