Be Present

Told Brad last night that I wish Christmas was not in two days. I am actually prepared with meals and all of the gift wrapping and picked out the best church service but everything felt so rushed this year.  I am one who gets done a few weeks early so once we celebrate our Steel’s Christmas with our extended family, we ease into each day planned with some type of holiday cheer, movie or something wonderful to eat all leading up to Christmas Day.

I posted a few reminders to even be present this holiday season. And I did just that. I was very present with 9 days of taking care of my boys. They both caught a horrible virus (both of which had different symptoms) and did more laundry than I had done all year.  I kept fighting off my sympathy nausea by working out myself but truth be told I was actually fighting off the virus to be well for them!  Cody of course gave us a big scare with some crazy high temperature where we packed his backpack twice thinking we would be heading to hospital if it did not come back down from a fever reducer medication and poor Camo had a horrible stomach flu!

Brad and I tested our courage and have learned a whole new meaning of being brave while we were having to run some lab work on Cody.  This was to date the hardest doctor appointment we have had.


Yesterday Cody started being buggy and stir crazy being in the house and that is when I knew he was on the mend!  I was optimistic about him being fever free for over 24 hours after worrying about him for 7 days but happy to say I was thrilled to see his therapist today! So with a blink of the eye after 9 days of a sick in The Neustupa house hold, Christmas is here, ready or not!

This Christmas break, Cameron accepted a side job to help out an elderly couple that lives on our street.  His job is to feed and walk the 3 dogs and then he spends a little time visiting and helping her with a few random chores like taking down the cans for trash pickup or carrying laundry to each of the rooms, etc.  Of all the years we have lived here, we did see much of these neighbors.  Cam actually friend-ed them and has actually worked for them a few times.  What he learned the first time he helped out,  was the gal had hip replacement surgery then fell while recovering and now is wheel chair bound. They needed Cameron to help because her husband was traveling to see his daughter that could possibly be the last time as he just learned he had cancer.  This was over the summer. Fortunately, this past Monday he had surgery and they were able to get all of the cancer and basically a new bladder.  Last night Cam mentioned the lady would be home alone for Christmas as they have no family and could he maybe gets some treats for the animals and take them to her.  This morning, we headed to the store and purchased a North fork pine.  We surprised her this morning, spent some time with her, decorated the tree and placed a few wrapped gifts for all the dogs and for the couple to enjoy.  She was so happy as she had no Christmas cheer in her home.

Cameron Age 6 meeting Santa


What a perfect way to ease into the holiday.  Christmas is more about the giving to others and the birth of Jesus and my 14 year old reminded me about this last night. There is no better gift that hearing someone talk about your children and what a fine young man Cameron will soon become.  So yes, we did not ease into the 2 weeks leading up to Christmas Day because they were sick but there is no rule that you can ease into Christmas 2 days before and continue with those traditions into the New Year. Christmas may remind us about the reason for the season or giving to others but this is something we can do all year round.

Enjoy your time with family and friends over the next few weeks. Be present even if that means a pause in your traditions because someone gets sick, may be grieving or just needs to talk.

Merry Christmas

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Published by mamalamaneustupa

Bio My name is Shelley Neustupa. I am a mother of two cool boys and a wife of 22 years to my high school sweetheart. My oldest son attends the University of Oklahoma. Boomer! My youngest is in 2nd grade and was diagnosed with Autism and Mixed Receptive Expressive Disorder at age 2. Since his diagnosis, I promised him I would advocate and educate as hard as he works each day in therapy. I began writing and have been able to touch many parents that may be new to this journey providing them with actual experiences (not candy coated), support and resources through my entries. Writing is my therapy and my hope one day that my nonverbal son will be able to take these diaries and speak about his own journey and how autism relates to his own experiences. Who knows he and his older brother may become National Speaker’s one day? Come along on our journey to better understand our lives through the eyes of a boy with autism, his Skilled Companion dog Jude, his big brother (and best friend) and mom and dad. My raw vulnerability captures the everyday moments of our journey and will bring even more awareness. A week does not go by where we do not learn something new about ourselves and I want to share these chapters with you. My Sons Undeniable Strengths… Extremely smart and figures out things quickly. Has a memory that allows him to remember more things than I could ever hope for. Persuasive by his personality and sheepish looks. Overabundance of stamina and strength. Loves the outdoors. Enjoys life and always has fun with an unforgettable smile. You can find us here: Writer: Autism Through His Eyes Facebook Instagram YouTube Pinterest Canine Companions for Independence News Interview Cody and Skilled Companion Jude - Our Story

3 thoughts on “Be Present

  1. Thank you dear daughter for reminding us in your words about the true meaning of Christmas. And also a huge thanks to my precious grandson for his kindness and thoughtfulness to those in need of love.

    Liked by 1 person

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