As a Caregiver, My Christmas Wish List Looks a Little Different Now

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by Katie Griffith |

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Season’s greetings! In the midst of this busy holiday season, I am extra thankful that you are spending a few moments here. I hope that you can find some time to slow down and do something that is life-giving to you. You are important and deserve all the peace and joy that life can offer.

It’s that time of year when children are making their Christmas lists and checking them twice. From stuffed animals to video games, they make sure it’s all there and nothing is left off. Then, the hard part begins: the waiting. Christmas feels so far away!

As a kid, I remember being so excited about waking up on Christmas morning, bright and early, and coming down the stairs to see what gifts were waiting for me under the tree. That magical feeling is hard to match.

Christmas often seems to lose some of its magic once we have grown up. We find out that life is challenging and often unfair. Hard things happen — like my child being diagnosed with a disease called Friedreich’s ataxia (FA). In a single moment, a seemingly bright future begins to feel dark and scary.

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Finding Contentment With Myself Tops This Year’s Christmas List

I was recently listening to one of my favorite Christmas albums, “Home for Christmas,” by Amy Grant, and the song “Grown-Up Christmas List” came on. In the song, she wishes for:

“No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
Everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end.”

If only we could make a list of grown-up wishes and have them come true like they did when we were children. My grown-up list wouldn’t be about simple things like Barbies and Care Bears — the things I used to ask for. Now my wish list would include complex things, such as peace and love — and a cure for FA.

What if it were possible to experience a bit of magic this year? By being fully present in the moment and enjoying the time I do have with my family, I can come to see today as a gift. Tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us, but when we look for ways to celebrate, despite the challenges we face, I truly think we will find a bit of that childlike wonder for which we have been searching for so long.

As former President Calvin Coolidge so thoughtfully put it, “Christmas is not a time, nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.”

This holiday, instead of dwelling on the unfairness that life has dealt us, may we find ways to be grateful for the gifts that we have received. Like children who are wide-eyed with anticipation, may we have hearts wide open to the good that is possible in this season and always.


Friedreich’s Ataxia News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Friedreich’s Ataxia News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Friedreich’s ataxia.


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