Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Blue Christmas

“There are some upon this earth of yours,” returned the Spirit, “who lay claim to know us, and who do their deeds of passion, pride, ill-will, hatred, envy, bigotry, and selfishness in our name; who are as strange to us and all our kith and kin, as if they had never lived. Remember that, and charge their doings on themselves, not us.”
― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

I still pick out a Christmas gift for my mother every year, even though I haven’t shared the holiday with her in 16 years. I don’t actually buy it or wrap it, but usually in my shopping travels I see something that she would have liked, or just simply experience something that I know she would enjoy. It makes me wonder about what her preferences and likes would have been in this technologically advanced age. I like to imagine her with a smartphone and a Kindle, tagging me in numerous Pinterest posts and commenting on my progress on Goodreads. Its all very much a fantasy, though.

To be honest, I think she would be disappointed with me this year. Try as I might, the events over the last few days, weeks, and months have weighed me down this season, and I just haven’t been able to muster up much Christmas spirit. The tree and the house lights were put up, the cards were sent, but the other customs and staples of the year; the baking, the nativity figurines, the thrill of giving, were glaringly absent. From the outside looking in, I’m sure it seemed like a happy Christmas, but I’m still lacking that renewal of spirit I associate with celebrating the anniversary of a certain child’s birth. I find myself just unable to find the joy in wrapping gifts when I think about those parents and families in Connecticut who won’t have the joy of watching their kids opening their presents Christmas morning. Or make cookies with my own sons and daughter when theirs will never be able to sneak one again, or just simply enjoy licking the spoons. To watch my six year old Monkey catching snowflakes on her tongue in a magical Christmas Eve snow without remembering 20 five and six year olds that will never experience another snowflake. I can’t savor snuggling into bed at night with my husband when neighbors in my town - in my state - have no beds and no homes to gather into. The disparity of so many people banding together to try and make it a wonderful holiday for some, and others setting out to unleash their evil on the civil servants who selflessly sacrifice to help and protect us make it impossible for me to see the hope and goodness in our country. Maybe even in our world. There is so much arguing and blame going on right now. Everyone wants a solution, but nobody wants to work together to really get to the right answer.

This isn’t the world I had in mind to bring my children into. A country that is more invested in their individual right to bear arms, than in seeking to heal the people as a whole through proper health and mental care is not where I want them to grow up. Legislators who are determined to undermine and cut the pay and benefits of educators - the people who have the job of shaping the people who will lead our future - are not the people I want in power over my kids’ learning opportunities. And thinking about those teachers that died, who did the same things that they award medals to soldiers for when in combat, it seems like the biggest insult that they are not supported more by the public, or by our own government. Finally, I can't get those poor parents out of my mind. How many holidays will they spend like me, seeing gift opportunities for someone they can no longer buy for?

The future just looks bleak and unpromising to me. If ever a child’s birth could deliver us from evil, I believe it would need to be now. Searching for that feeling of Christmas while donning a lead mantle of depression is an exhausting and bitter enterprise. And yet.... and yet, even as I go to bed this Christmas night with a heavy heart I keep digging inside myself. For as in the words of Anne Lamott, “Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come.”
Surely the miracle of the season has planted a seed of hope inside me somewhere. Inside all of us. Somewhere dormant and ready to bloom in the light of the morning.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." -  Matthew 19:14

The news today is tragic, and heartbreaking, and I just don’t want to believe it. What is this world coming to when any and every public place is becoming an open arena for others’ twisted sense of justice and judgement? Workplaces, highways, malls, movie theatres, and schools. Kids even killing one another for their bicycles. Nothing is safe anymore. I feel there is no sense of security anywhere in the entire United States.

And all those little children. I just cannot understand what any little child has ever done to a grown adult to deserve the bloody and violent end they met in Sandy Hook Elementary today. Being a mother, knowing so many mothers, so many who have fought for and cried for each one of their own children, my heart cannot comprehend the loss of so many. For something so senseless.

When did we usher in this era of people seeing death as an only resort? Taking their own lives because of stress at home or at school. Taking others with them for no other reason than the fact that they are there at the time. Or releasing their frustration on innocent bystanders because of some trivial disappointment and then turning the guns on themselves. How did death and murder become such a logical option for these people? Why does the decision to kill, and to kill so many, even come up when contemplating seemingly insurmountable problems? When did this currency of annihilation become so abundantly used by our youth?

There is something inherently wrong in society if more and more young people are turning to death for the answer. We are severely failing our children in teaching them coping methods and problem solving skills if shooting their frustration out of a gun or ending their life is the only option they can see when faced with difficulties. This has to change. This has to stop. We need to stop medicating, stop labeling, and get to the issue of WHY all these children are so depressed and desperate to begin with.

And tonight - a night I should be going to bed happy and inspired by my own son’s birthday - I will spend crying myself to sleep. Praying with all my heart for all those families who will never have another birthday with their loved one, or with their child. Who will be spending the remainder of the holiday season planning funerals instead of celebrating. I will be praying for an answer to end this senseless cycle of violence. And the ability to teach my children better. For the betterment of all the world.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Having a two-year-old is like having a blender that you don't have the top for. ~Jerry Seinfeld

Tomorrow you’ll be all grown up, and no longer a baby. Even though you’re already walking and talking, and spouting your preferences and denials in full sentences that could no way be attributed to an infant. You continually blow my mind with all you say and do and understand. I see your whole world opening up before your eyes, and it is bittersweet for me. This is the last time I’ll be traveling this road with my own child. The last time I’ll be amused by mangled expressions and pronunciations, or charmed by innocent looks and smiles. I see you growing up and away from me every second. It makes me sad because I miss the sweet baby you were. It makes me proud to see glimpses of who you will grow up to be. You stretched every last minute of my patience with your arrival two years ago, a habit you still continue to this day. But you are worth every second of the wait. Happy Birthday my Little Bear.