I have never been more anxious to pick up Diego from school like I was on Friday. Like so many people, especially parents, watching the news unfold from Newtown, Connecticut was absolutely dreadful. My carpool buddy met me to hand over Diego a few blocks from his school and I will never forget the knot in my throat and the stinging in my eyes when I saw her car pull up with our kids.
I hugged and kissed Diego and took him over to our car to drive him to his first soccer practice of the winter season. Rather than dropping him off at the sports facility and taking the opportunity to run errands for the next hour and a half, I just sat in disbelief and watched him from the benches…not once did I take my eyes off of him. Most of the other parents were there that night as well. Nothing else mattered on Friday than watching our 5,6 and 7 year-old babies start a new season.
My “almost-6-year-old” brought up something rather interesting on the way home from practice. I say interesting because he was unaware that something so tragic had happened in a place he and so many other children love. He asked me from his booster seat behind me, “Mommy, can Christmas ever be canceled?” I got goose bumps. Stunned, I looked over at him through my rear view mirror and said to him, “No sweetie. Nothing can cancel Christmas. Why do you ask?” He continued, “If we were to have another hurricane, wouldn’t it cancel Christmas?” My stomach flipped and my heart ached as I remembered that for the past two years his Halloween has been “canceled” due to hurricanes. How innocent and yet what an awakening for me to hear on that day that my son’s biggest fears come by the unpredictable force of Mother Nature. For us adults, fear now comes in so many more ways never imagined before.
I knew that for many people in Newton, Christmas will be dark this year. There may or may not be gift exchanges, holiday parties, or traditional feasts, but I had to tell Diego, that nothing in the world can cancel Christmas. Holding back tears, I told Diego that we must remember the reason for Christmas. The birth of Baby Jesus will be acknowledged, rejoiced and celebrated because He is the most important force in this world. Then I thought to myself: no hurricane, no act of Mother Nature and certainly no senseless act of madness can take away this upcoming special day. I told Diego that no matter what, we will always find a way to celebrate Him.
I’m not certain he was convinced. As adults we long for the days when we were young and without fear…but little children will have fears. I was reminded of that on Friday night, in my car unexpectedly, that kids are afraid sometimes and our most important job is to reassure them, comfort them and love them. I drove on determined to convince him and determined to have him trust me.
It seems like children are maturing much faster, are smarter and are losing their innocence at a greater pace than ever. Whatever it is we can do to prevent our kids from developing new fears…let’s try that. Please?
Wishing you a happy week…always.