...and quickly! I'm on pace though. I continue to balance preparing for the holiday and all that means to a household with young children. There are presents to wrap (teachers' gifts, student treats), party refreshments to buy (100% juice boxes, please), photos to snap at school pageants, glittery crafts to assemble while still in pajamas, holiday lights to gaze at while carols play on the car radio and so on...
|Thirty-eight treat bags assembled in one evening. No elves required.|
It still doesn't seem right to be celebrating and certainly, when my children are not around, I am not. But it also does not seem right to not celebrate this season. That would be giving in to the darkness--allowing the worst the world has to offer to eclipse the best and brightest that still exists among us. It's really hard to know the right thing to do, the right way to feel as Christmas approaches and angels are laid to rest.
Like a lot of people, this week I've signed online petitions, cried many tears, avoided television but forced myself to watch news clips online. I've re-posted heroic stories and photos on my Facebook page, toyed briefly with the thought of expatriation and worried a great deal more about my sons' safety when I leave them at their schools. I've entered my own classroom with a smile each day, ready to calm fears among the students but also keeping the door key close at hand. It hardly seems possible that only a week has passed since the tragedy. We've all aged so much since then.
Even though I have all of my Christmas cds out of storage, the only one I feel like listening to (over and over) is These are Special Times by Celine Dion. It's quietly beautiful. In the past, I found this album too restrained but now it seems simply reverent. Blue Christmas is appropriate instead of sappy this year. The Prayer used to make me yawn but now leaves me in awe. I listen to Ave Maria over and over again to feel stillness inside while everything else rushes past. But it is actually Brahms' Lullaby that has had the most profound effect on me this week. Everyone says that we should hug our children tighter and hold them closer now. This softly-sung song makes me feel as if I am watching over my boys even when we are apart for the day.
As the holiday draws near, I wish everyone peace. May you enjoy this time with the people who are most special to you.