I am not going to read or watch the news for the immediate future. I can't cry anymore.
Examples of some recent, local news stories:
Mother arrested in drowning death of her 10 month old baby after she left him alone in the bathtub for 10 minutes while she got her other kids ready to bathe.
Man in custody charged with shooting two gas station workers dead, and setting two women alight in a separate incident and seriously burning them, and shooting another man in the face as he tried to help the women. One of these women was 5.5 months pregnant - her baby was born by emergency C section and died a couple of days later. The other woman died last night.
School closed down yesterday as a result of rumours spreading that some kid was going to shoot someone. These rumours spread by cell phone text messages, and thankfully school officials took it seriously - but, what about the next day these kids have to go to school?
I know that these incidents are a harsh reality, and happen all too frequently across the world. I can't process it any more, though.
For just a few days - I want to take myself back to that fizzy anticipation of Christmas that I experienced, and enjoyed, as a child. Those feelings of pure delight and agonizing suspense where in my innocence, oblivious to the darker side of life, I waited for Christmas Eve and the often futile attempts to get to sleep early, lest the big guy in red catch me awake.
I want to relish in those same feelings that I see in Miss E, for the first time as she really grasps the idea of what Santa is all about.
I want to languish in the feelings of pure pride I have in watching her at her Preschool's Christmas Program, and that I am happy that in addition to the gift giving and receiving side of Christmas, she knows we are also celebrating the birth of Christ.
I want to hold on to the hope that Miss E and Jay represent for a future generation. That they will learn from us the value of their lives, and those of others and that they will never ever be so careless with them as others seem to be in this age.
I have spent a lot of time recently thinking about what I can do to help those less fortunate, and I have taken a few (albeit small) steps to actually do something. I will not stop thinking of these people, but I recognize that my own family are important, too, and I want this to be a truly magical time of year for all of us. I'm letting go of the guilt I have felt that depsite what I may sometimes dwell on as shortcomings in my life - I have it a LOT better than other people - I can't carry that anymore - yes I have it better than many - but it doesn't stop me wanting to strive for something better - I'm not going to feel ashamed of that any more.
So as my daughter and I immerse ourselves in gingerbread men baking today, and package up a couple of boxes of homemade treats for friends, I will pray that we can all enjoy a happy, peaceful, and Blessed Christmas.