Saturday, December 15, 2012

The senselessness of evil

Like many people - and in particular, I imagine, parents of school-age children - I went to bed last night with a very heavy heart after hearing of the school shooting in Connecticut.  The last things I did before going to bed were to look in on Blake who was sleeping, and give an extra hard hug to Noah who was not really in the mood for sleep and was thus in bed with us.  The horror and the desperation that so many of those parents must be feeling is beyond understanding. 

There have been other random shootings in America in recent history, and they have all no doubt been equally horrific, but this one in particular strikes such a nerve: as President Obama said, these children were beautiful children between the ages of 5 and 10, no doubt full of life and energy, wonder at the world, with so much still to discover in their lives which have now been cut short far far too soon.  I can't help but look at Blake - who in his first year at school, is probably the age of many of these kids - and smile at the funny things he's saying and doing, and imagine the unimaginable pain I would feel if something were to happen to him or Noah.  The timing, so close to Christmas - a time that really is for children, before you get jaded by the consumerism and stress of it all - makes it that much more hard to bear.  You can imagine that many families were so looking forward to visits by Santa, trips to see family, taking a break from the hecticness of the season and enjoying the holiday season as families - now their lives have just been turned completely upside-down and changed forever. 

The randomness of it all only feels more awful - thinking of the relief that the parents whose children survived this, but the horror of those whose children were in the classroom where the gunman targetted - why their children?  Why did this guy snap?  And what would lead someone to target children who are completely innocent?  It also makes my heart break for educators all over - especially to think about my parents who devoted their working lives to teaching...we all takes risks every day - in our cars, or on public transportation, and the risk of terror is probably everywhere - but school should be sacred, a place where fun and learning can take place without fear of attack.  I feel even more sad reading that the principal had recently installed higher security for Sandy Hook; obviously the safety of the children was high on her priority list, and somehow that failed.  How many weekdays do parents send their children off to school, assuming that they will come back home safely at the end of the day, full of stories about what they learned, what they did with their friends, what they're looking forward to doing the next day?  Equally painful is the knowledge that nowhere is immune to insanity - Connecticut is the place of so many wonderful memories for me, and to imagine the peacefulness of the small-town community and how it has been shattered, is very tough. 

As for the inevitable issue that will be front and center in the aftermath - gun control -I hope that somehow something good comes out of this, and that politicians will find a way to avoid this happening again.  Unfortunately, I doubt that will be the case, as many Americans hold very tightly to the words of the Constitution and to the right to bear arms.  Reading that the guns he used had been bought legally by his mother will no doubt confuse the issue.  It's just hard to believe that America, as a land of the free, can be a place where freedom - of everyone to grow, learn, love - can so easily be taken away so quickly by crazy people wielding guns. 

My thoughts and prayers will be with the community of Newtown.  I hope Santa has some time to make it up to Heaven to deliver the gifts to the children who won't get to experience Christmas here on earth.  And I pray that the parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters of the children - and the families of the adults whose lives were also lost - find strength in the memories of their loved ones.  For the rest of us, how lucky we are; I guess we just all need to hug our children and hope that we never know tragedy like that. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

3 feet high and rising

As it always seems to do at about the second Wednesday of December, Christmas is coming quickly! And no, I am not at all ready!

We got our tree over the weekend, a very small one just to put something up, but holding out for the bigger one in Hickory.  We went to the local garden center where even the 3-foot tree cost £28...the encouraging words I was giving to the boys about how perfect the 3-foot size was were pretty convincing, fortunately.  They didn't let me put it n the trunk and insisted on having it ride between them in the car. Funny boys....

They got so excited about decorating it, and in fact, at some point late on Sunday I realized I hadn't actually hung up a single ornament - I think Blake just sort of set to work and recruited Noah to help where he could. The results are not too bad!

Christmas Tree

Monday, December 10, 2012

The "Version" Mary

Not sure if you will know this famous Christmas tune, but have a listen!

Several things about this make me laugh, not least Blake "swapping his mike" from one hand to the other! They were the ones who insisted singing in their britches, too...go figure.


Sunday, December 02, 2012

Weekend fun, but hard work too!

Matt went down to Brighton this weekend to catch up with the "boys" (nevermind that they aren't very young anymore!), so that meant I was on my own with our boys for Saturday and Saturday night. I sure do admire anyone who is a single parent; it is hard work just being that one person who has to do everything.

For their part, the boys were very good for me. We had a lazy morning on Saturday before going to a local church's Christmas bazaar. I only had about £9 in cash and we managed to use all our money up, spending it on hot dogs, delicious cakes, face painting, and a few little items from their jumble sale. Noah fell in love with this camper van which was a bargain at £1, and made me cringe to think about what we could spend at Christmas yet which might not make him as happy as this little item did! Blake was totally thrilled with his face painting and the whole walk back we tried to find good camouflage for him.

We all had an afternoon snooze on the sofa (face paint ending up all over the sofa), before we headed out for another local Christmas event - the pre-Feast Christmas celebration at St Luke's in West Norwood. This was rather tricky in that it was kind of dark all around the grounds, but we enjoyed the lights that were being projected on the church, and the boys each had a cake pop from the local Bunting and Pops. They're so cute and SO yummy!

After a bit of tv (Blake's favorite - Diners, Drive-in's and Drives), we all snuggled up in my bed. I just couldn't face being woken in the night by one or both of the boys, so it just seemed easier to do this. And it kind of worked, apart from the fact that I woke up at 1:00am, before going back to sleep until about 7:15 this morning. Not too bad.

Then it was church, and by the time we got home, Matt was on his way back. We got some popcorn from the Feast and went and had a movie afternoon at Charlie and Flora's. I was, of course, very glad to have Matt home and the boys enjoyed seeing Daddy! But we did well enough...maybe he can go away again next year! : )