Laura’s Two Christmas’s

The first year Laura wasn’t at home for Christmas was very strange.  For 17 years we had had Christmas all together and I couldn’t help feeling we were ‘incomplete’ as a family that year.  I felt as most mothers do at this time of year; I wanted to have my children and family around me during the holidays, to enjoy each others company and spend time together.


Laura’s first Christmas away was when she was at residential college at Coleg Elidyr in Wales.  The effort and organisation they put in to the celebrations was immense; a candle lit procession down to the farm, parties, singing carols to the animals, a traditional Christmas meal and much much more.


I had to get my head around the fact that she was really enjoying all the celebrations and wanted to be there, with her friends, with her teachers and doing things that I couldn’t possibly have laid on for her at home.  I had to accept that it was about what she wanted to do, not about what I wanted, not what my family wanted, but what she wanted to do.  Once I had accepted this, I had a big realisation that this was a feeling I was going to have to relive over and over again throughout her adult life.


Admittedly Christmas had always been a fairly grueling time; Laura requires a lot of one on one attention and it’s just not easy to do this when there are many people about.  It’s tiring and it didn’t make it a particularly enjoyable time for me, but most importantly, not for Laura either.


Laura now has two Christmases; she comes home for a week in early December, which marks the start of her month of celebrations, and then she has Christmas in her home, The Old Vicarage, on the actual day itself.  When she comes home to us, I can give her real quality time, we go Christmas shopping, we have a family get together and Laura is the centre of attention.  At The Old Vic on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day, Laura is again centre of attention – our staff are amazing at Christmas time, popping in to say hello even if they are not officially working, cooking traditional meals, organising parties and outings.


When I meet parents I always say to them, “you need to remember, however difficult, that when your child becomes and adult, it’s not about you any more.  It’s about what’s best for them, what they want to do.  And that has to be first and foremost at every time in our lives.”


It is probably the biggest realisation and acceptance that a mother has to go through, and it isn’t easy.  Whilst I would like nothing more than Laura to ring and say “I’ve changed my mind, Mummy, I’d like to come home this year” I know that I have to still think of what’s best for her, what she wants.  I’ll know that she is having the time of her life and we’ve had our special Christmas with her already.


Best wishes to everyone for a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year


Ann de Savary



4 Responses to “Laura’s Two Christmas’s”
  1. shirley howick says:

    Having read your article on Christmas for Laura at her residential home, as against spending it with her family, I must admit we have our son Ian home each year at that time – you have now given me food for thought in that perhaps it would be better for him to join his ‘other family’ and come home to another Christmas some other time in December. I very much appreciate your articloe and will consider this next year.

  2. admin says:

    Thank you for your comment Shirley – it’s certainly a conundrum which I’ve considered a lot over the years, thus the blogpost here. Of course, each family is different and what works for one may not be work for another but I wish you all the best for your decisions for the future!

  3. Eve M says:

    Thank you for posting your first hand personal experience of how Laura enjoys spending Christmas now she is an adult. For me it has put a positive perspective on an emotional dilemma.