Blink—And They're Grown

Parents, Families and Child Care

My Grown-Up Christmas List

Photo courtesy of Billie Hara.For the second time in a row, when something of monument happened, I’ve not been able to be with my children. Last Friday, the day when the horrific news about the events in Newtown, Connecticut hit, my children were leaving to go for their extended holiday visit with their father. Since I haven’t really been able to discuss what happened with them (not a topic for the phone), my own stress level has been elevated as I’ve been concerned about their exposure to the news and how they are coping with the emotions this exposure may cause.

Whether you have had your children with you and have had the opportunity to hold them extra close, cry with them and talk with them about Sandy Hook, or whether you are away from your children for whatever reason, you may be dealing with strong emotions of your own. If you’re anything like me, upon hearing more details about the shootings and/or the children and adults who lost their lives, tears are never far from the surface. It’s important that we parents give ourselves permission to do whatever we need to cope.

Sunday night I couldn’t stop thinking of the parents who took children to school Friday and now don’t have one to get ready anymore. Driving past my children’s school every day, I’ve uttered prayers of thanksgiving that it wasn’t them and pleas that it never will be. On Tuesday I volunteered at my son’s second grade and my daughter’s third grade parties. Entering the school, I imagined the scene at Sandy Hook and shuddered. As I helped the teachers lovingly coordinate snacks and crafts and watched the joy on the children’s faces as they interacted with one another I couldn’t help but think of the little girl who was the sole survivor from her class who had to tell her mom, “I’m OK but my teacher and all of my friends are dead.” Hugging the principal and many of the staff – acknowledging how glad I am that they’re still here – was healing for me.

With all the questions we ask ourselves and God, Why? being amongst them, one of the most poignant I’ve heard from a child is, “What will Santa do with their Christmas lists?” I can’t begin to answer that, but it made me think of the lyrics to an old Amy Grant song:

No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end, oh
This is my grown-up Christmas list
This is my grown-up Christmas list

At a time like this, I’m not sure my words are adequate, so I’d like to share this excerpt from President Obama’s memorial address:

” ‘Let the little children come to me,’ Jesus said, ‘and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.’ Charlotte, Daniel, Olivia, Josephine, Ana, Dylan, Madeline, Catherine, Chase, Jesse, James, Grace, Emilie, Jack, Noah, Caroline, Jessica, Benjamin, Avielle, Allison, God has called them all home.”

I don’t have anything to add to the President’s words, but I’d like to add to my grown-up Christmas list:

That they’re all home for the holidays.

– Tammi

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