Oh friends, this was not the blog I imagined writing the week before Christmas. I was working on something festive and light, happy and magical. Then December 14th occurred and we witnessed an unimaginable tragedy unfold. Since then I am having trouble holding it together, spontaneously crying when I look at my babies and needing to hold them close. I try to hide these “big emotions” from my little ones who aren’t aware of what’s occurred in the world, but I’m sure they can sense the underlying sadness I’m feeling.
(Pic by my lovely friend, Lee Sutton)
Cape Cod Mommies contributor, Tracy Lamperti, had a wonderful post a few days ago about the response our children may be feeling and how we can help them. She used the words “vicarious trauma” and it was so helpful for me to read this term, because this is exactly what I’m feeling and what I hear so many of my friends are feeling as well. We keep telling ourselves, “this is not our pain” and yet we feel it tremendously. We are traumatized – by the unimaginable hurt these families are experiencing and a new sense of danger in our daily lives. Any parent understands that once you have a child, the most vulnerable, precious piece of yourself is running around in the world and, in the end, your ability to protect that treasure is limited. This tragedy was a very, clear reminder of our loved ones’ vulnerability and our powerlessness in certain situations.
But here’s the thing, my children don’t know about their fragility, they only know their strength. They feel the power in their bodies
as they jump and run and twirl. They feel the unending love streaming from their family and they have no idea of the fears their parents harbor as they watch their babies leap over boundary after boundary. This is what I’m focusing on right now, as I work to push past the vicarious trauma we’ve all experienced from this horrific act. Provide my babies with that safe harbor I spoke about in my last post, a place that’s calm, loving, and supports their exploration. I am working to let go of my increasing anxiety about the world so I’m not passing that fear onto these growing girls.
And here’s the other thing, it’s still Christmas. A magical, beautiful, loving time of year. I don’t want to lose that magic. Nobody wants to lose the magic. So we are seeing people bring light and love to one of the darkest holiday seasons many of us have ever witnessed. So many are making efforts to help, to comfort, to provide, to love the people in Connecticut. Right now people all over the country are making paper snowflakes and decorations to send to the Sandy Hook School’s new location, so that those traumatized children will have magic return to their lives. On Friday, the Yarmouth Police Department is going to Newtown to bring decorations, home baked goods, and items of comfort to the children, families, and first responders to assist in their healing. We are seeing the best in people during the worst of times. This, mamas, is bringing magic back for me.
I know there will be a time when Christmas music doesn’t make me cry, and when the magic of this season will occur naturally, and I will be able to write blog posts about the wonder I feel watching my children decorate cookies and make Christmas crafts. Right now, I’m going to hug my babies. I’m going to let their imaginations run wild with the idea of Santa, the North Pole, and Rudolph. I’m going to have dance parties after dinner to the tunes of Jingle Bells and We Wish You A Merry Christmas. And I’m going to make snowflakes, lots and lots of snowflakes. My Christmas wish is for all of us to have a peaceful, calm, loving holiday season.
A couple of ways to help Newtown:
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