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.