Monday, December 17, 2012

i am grateful

Sending my kids to school felt very different this morning.  
{But I am grateful that I can do this today}

This morning, I didn't stress to get the kids to school on time.  It briefly crossed my mind to just keep them home with me today. Just so I can hold them.  But they are unaware of what this morning feels to me, so they went to school as normal.  I did however, look down the halls a bit more carefully as I watched them enter their classrooms.  We can not be afraid.  We shouldn't. And although that feeling will disappear as we go back to dealing with all the cries of frustration about busy traffic, kids arguing in the backseat, and being late for school (again!), sometimes I need to remind myself to sit back and look at the big picture, and not worry about being late.  Because those are cries that twenty families wish they were having instead of the tears they have today.

The parenting struggle feels different now.  
{But I am grateful that I can do this today}

Before last Friday, when I wrote about the gift of kindness, I talked about the parenting struggle of teaching kindness and good will, while at the same time, teaching caution (and maybe a little mistrust?) in a world that sometimes isn't so kind.  Like many parents, in order to cope with anxieties derived from tragedies, we would always say "those kind of incidents could never happen to us", reasoning that children are rarely the target.  I need to keep saying "it won't happen to us".  I NEED to say it for my children, even if a part of me isn't quite so sure anymore.  I need to say it, despite knowing that twenty families will never be able to say "it won't happen to us".

Fussing over the little details have a different meaning now.
{But I am grateful that I can do this today}

Sometimes it's the little things that take up a lot of time.  And I've been told I fuss too much over the little making sure the cookies are the same size so there is no argument over who's cookie is bigger when the kids decorate it.  Or when I painstakingly go over each Christmas gift to ensure they look "equal".  But as small as these details may seem to adults, I know that some details mean the world to my kids.  And for me, it's just another small way for my children to know that I love both of them. Equally. That nothing is insignificant, and every minute I spend fussing is for them.  And I notice all of their little details too. Their smile.  The way they breathe while they sleep. Their tears.  I will continue to do the little things that make a big difference to them...that make them feel special.  Every day.  Although I still need to attach those evenly sized ribbons to each of their Christmas gifts, I will remember that there will be twenty little gifts unopened this year.

Spending time with my family will be different now.
{But I am grateful I can do this today}

I will, more than ever, try to take the kids to see and explore our beautiful world.  To attempt that "bucket" list of things like surf in Hawaii, or visit the Great Wall of China.  Or just to spend more time doing the small but meaningful things over the Christmas holidays.  Like decorating gingerbread cookies together.  Reading books with flashlights under bed sheet tents.  Or just drinking cocoa while we watch our annual Christmas movie together.  I want to create so many more, beautiful memories.  Because twenty families will have a different memory for Christmas this year.

 “These 20 children lit up this community better than all the Christmas lights we have.”
And with a gentle nod upward, he added, “There are 20 brighter stars in the heavens.”
(Monsignor Robert Weiss, pastor of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, in Newtown, Connecticut) 

And I will forever be grateful, that my bright stars are here on Earth with me today. 

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