Ironwood Maine Web Update

Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day a year to remind us that we’re here for something besides ourselves.

Eric Severid

            Twas’ the night before Christmas and all through the Farmhouse, not a creature was stirring not even a mouse. Yes, not residents, Farmhouse or Frye, left their beds as the night staff thought about all the stocking stuffing they had ahead. And so they stuffed those stockings with toys and candy—delightful things to make Christmas morning more than fine and dandy! As it should be for staff and students alike, for we work hard all year in order to stay on the right…path. Yes, yes we do! From sunrise to sunset we work consistently even if we are upset, sad, or mad, or have had a bad day. We work so we can relax on Sunday and all the days after we go home, so that our brains are well and we don’t feel as alone. And so Christmas is an event, a special time of year,  that is prepared and prepped for months in advance, so that when the kids ask “What are we doing today?” the staff don’t look so  askance. No, no they smile and say: “Well, today is going to be a very, very good day.” For Christmas fun is why we worked tirelessly for two days to make a meal so yummy you just have to say:  “Hurray!” The goal is to have fun, and be able to look at our towering mountains of dishes and say: “Well, that was worth it. We really did have a good day!”

            Each year, after the leaves begin to fall and the squirrels feverishly stockpile even more nuts, the holiday season comes to town and brings its own unique set of challenges and benefits. Everyone struggles with at least one thing during each holiday season, and everyone enjoys and gains a lot from at least one thing during the holidays season! That’s just life. And here at Ironwood, it’s no different. The approximate schedule of this year’s Ironwood Christmas was this: On Christmas morning we got to sleep in, and then we had a festive breakfast! (Bagels loaded with eggs, cheese, bacon, and hash browns). After breakfast we opened our stockings that had wonderful goodies, including stickers, candy, and candy canes. After that we got to open all the amazing presents parents sent in for our community! There was a fruit press, a Dungeons & Dragons set, many books, capos,a ping pong table, and much more! Next, we watched a delightful Christmas movie! After that, the Farmhouse and Frye played two games of  Dodge Ball together. Finally, everyone got to enjoy a delicious Christmas dinner. For dinner we had sweet carrots, tenderloin, green beans, and scalloped potatoes. Dessert was apple pie with lots of whipped cream. We had a great day! 

            As stated in the opening quote, holidays are a necessity. Generally speaking, Ironwood is a time in a student’s life where everything is about their individual program. It’s the safest time in our lives to make mistakes, learn and grow whilst being protected. In comparison, Christmas and other holidays direct our attention more toward the group, and community. They brighten our spirits, raise morale, teach us lessons on emotional regulation, and how to cope with holidays in general. They also teach us how to cook a lot of good food on a time crunch! All of these things are important life skills for outside of Ironwood. From what I know now, I  have a better understanding of holidays here at Ironwood. Holidays here are a helpful and good experience for us to work even harder on the emotional, mental, and physical work we do here, and they are an opportunity to bring the community closer together.