Monday, December 24, 2012

with love, merry christmas

it's hard to add any meaningful words to the dialog around the senseless and heartbreaking tragedy that occurred 10 days ago in connecticut, but i needed to mention here that i remember. 

we are joyfully shifting into christmas eve, moving from the fun and excitement of preparing for this holiday into the reality of experiencing its wonder and magic (our first year to talk about santa: hohoho; preparing for the drive home: guess who we're going to see in just 5 days, just 2 days, tomorrow...). 

but i still remember. 

and like so many others, i am working to strike a balance between grief and the celebration of the season and of our precious lives in general. the temptation to throw myself in one direction or the other is tempting, but ultimately it would be a sham either way. to forget, to move on completely, to turn and walk away - how nice that would be, but how dishonest. 

but to be consumed with grief and anger and anguish, well that is nearly just as shameful. i own this tragedy as a mother, a daughter, a sister, as an educator, a mental health professional, as an american, and mostly as a human being. but it's not mine to be emotionally consumed by. that's selfish and disrespectful to those families in true despair. 

so i strike a balance between these options. i stumble through prayers to the earth, to god, to no one. i read one more book to the little guy, sing one more song, feel grateful that he's so young and doesn't think it's creepy when i hold my nose close to his sweet body, his hair, taking in a bit more. i sign petitions, i talk about regulations, make a donation, attend a vigil. i wonder if there will still be school counseling positions when it's time for me to go back to work, or if funding for my role will be replaced by funding for armed guards. and then i wonder which i'd prefer, if i had to choose just one, when my precious little dons a backpack and heads into the school house. 

and then i bake some cookies, make hot chocolate, visit neighbors, old friends, wrap a gift, laugh, dance with david and sadie, kiss my husband. 

if you look at our house and you see the lights shining, the carefully hung stockings, the parents up late drinking wine, assembling toys, please know that we do these things with joy and sorrow. that our heads and our hearts are not turned away. that we are, as you are too, i hope, facing life courageously, honoring those who are gone (and dear god they are missed), as well as those who are here (my child, you make me desperate with love) with a delicate and imperfect balance of remembering and celebrating. 

whatever your religious beliefs, may the spirit of the season bring you some joy, some solace, some comfort, some light. 
 with love, merry christmas.