Finding Happy in (This Year’s) Holidays

Pretty lights are strung, our stockings are hung. Our Christmas tree’s branches are flipping upside down, and they’d damn well better hold themselves together for Santa. And hopefully no one will notice that I completely s_ck at wrapping.

This, of course, is really the least of my concerns. All that’s on my mind these days is the same as what’s on everyone else’s: I’m still reeling from the sickening events of last Friday. Every year at this point, I’m baking like crazy, making baskets of cake pops, peppermint bark and cookies for everyone I know. This year, I’m trying to tear myself away from the TV, the tributes, the stories of the families whose children should be here to tell their own. I alternate between crying, fuming and stretching as far as I can, reaching for the light. It’s hard to feel like doing much of anything. Even sleep is disturbing. I still can’t quite believe what I’m seeing: our little local community, Sandy Hook, CT, pasted across the screen on every channel. The unthinkable. Every parent’s worst nightmare – no, not just every parent. Every person who’s ever loved a child. Of any age.

I’m thankful that my four-year-old daughters are mostly oblivious. In the heat of our shock and emotion, they picked up that something really bad had happened. S was the first to ask. All they know is that a man who was sick in his brain hurt a lot of people – some adults and some children – and that a lot of them died. They don’t know where or when or how. They didn’t ask. I let them know they were safe, and that the man who did it died, too. I reassured them that if they wanted to talk or had any questions, they could just ask Mommy or Daddy. If nothing else, I pray that this opens the door for good communication, that it’s not more than their little minds and hearts can handle when I can barely manage myself.

No parent should ever have to have this conversation with their child. My heart breaks for the ones who had to share news that was even worse.

We’re a very affectionate family anyway, but these days I’m needing extra hugs and snuggles.

“Hug time!” I call.

S turns up her nose at me.

“Again?” she asks.

H comes running. I scoop her up in my arms, grateful for and surprised by her unspoken understanding.

“Mommy?” she says. “Can I go now? I’m a little busy.”

Over the next couple of days, I’m determined to pour my heart into enjoying every minute with my husband, little girls and family and friends.

And because of the last few days, I’m determined to spread positive energy and kindness to everyone I can. To live in the moment, because, oh-my-god, we really have no idea what’s in store  for us. It’s hard to get used to living in this kind of world. I’m not sure if I can. But my little girls are depending on me to show them the way, and the very least I can do is not let them down. They deserve better than that. In honor of those beautiful little angels taken too soon, their amazing families and their unimaginable strength, and the kindness of strangers that far outweighs the evil in the world, I will find a way to keep moving forward. To find a healthy, peaceful place again for my little girls.

Wishing you and your family safety and peace, love and comfort this holiday season, and always. XO.


7 thoughts on “Finding Happy in (This Year’s) Holidays

  1. I just finally got a chance to read this, and truly you’re so awesome. It affected us all I think, but some, either through self-defense or something, just kind of moved along like nothing happened. Teaching in a high school, Friday was so morbid. We had our annual Christmas concert assembly, and the kids singing on stage told me afterward that they messed up a lot just looking around worried about being shot. (There were whispers of a threat that turned out to be nothing.) It’s just a sad day for our world. We just have to have faith and move forward with prayers. Hope Christmas was amazing for you and you got all the hugs you needed.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, and for taking the time to read! In a way, it’s been a comfort to know that so many others have been so deeply moved by what happened. We are in good company, and we’ll all find our way through together. And yet, while it’s important to continue moving along, at a time like this it’s just so hard not to get buried by feelings of sadness, shock and fear. That makes me so sad about your high school kids, bearing that kind of burden at an event that should be happy, carefree and proud. Wishing you, your family and your students (and everyone) comfort and peace, and I hope your Christmas was amazing too. (I bet you’re still catching up on sleep from Christmas Eve!)

      • Thank you. I think we’ll all be a little on edge for a while, and I know it’ll take time for our hearts to heal. I just hope people take the only positive you can out of this and that’s to love each other as much as possible. And, yes, I was drooling on the couch a couple times today. Soooooo beat.

      • I couldn’t agree more with your perspective – and that it’s all we can do. And as for drooling on the couch, there’s been plenty of that at odd hours in our house, too 😉 Hope you two are recovering well and enjoying your break.

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