2014 was also the year of Disney's Frozen and all things associated with Frozen mania.
For our little family, Frozen and learning to "let it go" has been our motto. I know were not the only ones who were inspired by Frozen, who adored the characters and felt that kind of connection, but when I say that this simple yet powerful movie brought this family even closer and "transformed" each one of us, I'm speaking the truth.
I admit, the first time I saw Frozen I wasn't that impressed. It was on my iPad and I was distracted a bit, but it was the first movie that my daughter sat down to watch. She ended up falling alseep after the first scene, but I was like, "wow, okay maybe were onto something." I ended up renting the movie for us all to watch, and after the third attempt, we sat there as a family intrigued. Finally, I purchased it and we've probably watched our copy at least 100-150 times since, no joke.
Now, the thing for our little Autism family and many others out there, once our kiddos have a routine, it's difficult to break it. Watching Frozen became a part of Autumn's nightly routine. Dinner, bath, books, Frozen, bed. We all relished in this routine because something started to happen that I credit Frozen for doing:
1. Her relationship with her father strengthen by watching this movie together.
2. Autumn's vocabulary increased immensely by repeating the words said and sung throughout the film.
Before Frozen, Autumn struggled to make a connection with her father and as much as he tried, it was difficult for her to sit with him and formulate that bond. This was extremely heartbreaking for my husband. Imagine one's child not really wanting anything to do with them no matter how hard they tried. Because of Frozen and their popcorn routine, the two of them are inseparable. Autumn talks about her daddy, greets him when he comes home and sits with him nightly as he reads to her. Frozen helped them make that connection. Frozen gave my husband a daughter and her a dad so if anyone from Disney happens to read this, thank you forever for making our family become whole.
In addition, every word, song, and moment being portrayed during the film, Autumn danced and sang along. She started to repeat words, phrases and now, she's able to sing sentences to the songs. I don't care if it's scripted speech, my kid is saying words and singing! A year ago, I wasn't certain if she'd be able to do such a thing. Also, everytime the beloved Elsa would come onto the screen, Autumn went crazy for her. She would verbally stim with sounds, spin and flap with excitement. I know many little girls love Elsa because she's "magical" and maybe that's why Autumn loves her too, which is really cool because she too is making that connection. Still, seeing her light up everytime she saw her beloved "queen" always put a smile on our faces. In addition, after watching this movie on numerous occasions, my husband and me started to see many resemblances within Elsa and Autumn: both of them being born "different" and having to "conform" to societal norms. The more we watched as a family, the more we evolved as parents and within.
Elsa taught us how to "let go" this year. To let go of the expectations set forth onto others and ourselves and to "come out" of our shells and stop pretending to have it all together, when were human and we don't. She also taught us to embrace our daughter and her autism rather than trying to "conceal" her stims or sensory issues that may set her a part from society as a whole. Elsa being "different" has helped me see my daughter in a brighter light. Someone who's beautiful and capable at achieving anything as long as she has the love and support to thrive. Now this where Anna comes in. She always loved her sister no matter what. That is why Disney writers (spoiler) probably chose to not go back to explain things to her when she was at the trolls with Kristolf and he says "I've seen this done before". It didn't matter to Anna, she loved Elsa unconditionally regardless of her magical powers. You see, I've spent way too much time watching and analyzing this movie (insert LOL)!
Overall, 2014 was filled with all things Frozen in this Autism household. We learned to let Autumn go and grow. She started preschool this year and it was very difficult for me to begin to move forward from EI services to preschool because moving forward meant that I had to let go of my fears and introduce change into our lives. It was also the year of many tests, tears within personal family struggles, and transition. At the end of it all, we survived.
Even though the Frozen hype isn't over yet, here's to hoping that 2015 is filled with much love, less stress for all, and more time to spend together as a family.
I end with a quote I heard from my beloved sister, "Love is a four letter word: time." Let's make the best of it in 2015.
The year of Frozen:
Autumn asleep on her daddy while watching Frozen.
Autumn looking magical here during our holiday pictures