He doesn’t know, yet.

My son is four. He goes every day to Pre-K from morning to evening.

23659420_10155155978284537_8990932605570828465_n

My little guy

He can count to over 100 and is learning basic math. He speaks a little of his papa’s native language. He knows how to dress himself in the morning and make a little breakfast without completely wrecking the kitchen.

He knows to hold a door open for a lady and to buckle his seatbelt when we get in the car. He knows to give a hug to someone who is sad or is in pain.

He knows the importance of being quiet in a movie theatre and not to disturb other patrons when we are in a restaurant. He frequently remembers to say, please, thank you and have a good day without being reminded.

What he doesn’t know, yet, is that he lives in a world where it’s entirely possible for an armed terrorist to burst into his school and start shooting kids up.

He doesn’t know, yet, terms like “lockdown,” “code red,” or “shelter in place,” or “run for your life and zigzag so you’re a tougher target to hit.”

He doesn’t know, yet, that lollypops will be passed around to his classmates during lockdown drills to help keep the little kids quiet in the darkened classroom.

IMG_1048

He doesn’t know, yet, the etched face of a grieving parent who is living the unimaginable, the senseless loss of their child to gun violence.

He doesn’t know, yet, that his teacher has already had to contemplate the possibility of standing between him and a bullet. And that someday soon he will have to think about how he will react if ever faced with such a horrific situation. Will he be like Dezmond Floyd who, at just 10 years-old, has already decided to sacrifice himself for his peers?

He doesn’t know, yet, why his mama doesn’t like crowds and looks around nervously when surrounded by a lot of people. Or why she refuses to let him play with toy guns of any kind.

He doesn’t know, yet, that this abhorrent violence is mostly preventable, but to date our lawmakers have other priorities. Other priorities than preventing the loss of innocent lives.

He starts Kindergarten in the fall, and I fear this innocence of not knowing will quickly be lost as they begin drills for worst-case scenarios. And I am trying to already find the words to explain to him the kind of world we live in– a world smothered in gun violence that we routinely let our leaders turn a blind eye towards. A world where children are so frequently slaughtered in their classrooms that if the number of casualties isn’t high enough, it doesn’t even make the evening news.

Will I ever know the feeling of dropping my child at school feeling peaceful that he’s safe? No, not in my lifetime. But I can pray that the young voices being raised across this great nation will bring a sea change in our politics and legislation. That perhaps my grandchildren will know a different world.

I am grateful to the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas for having the courage, strength, and conviction to raise their voices up to the rafters of Congress and creating a spark that has mobilized our communities to say enough is enough. May all those who have come together over the past 5 weeks since the Parkland shooting remember the importance of casting a well-informed vote come November. I know I will be casting mine, and my little guy will be in the booth right next to me.

Are you registered to vote? Be aware that if you haven’t voted in several elections, your registration may have been purged. Check your status and register here. 

Is Santa Real?

First… my goodness… last post in July and now it’s November? Slapping myself on the wrist. Once I went back to work, any free time I have is spent with the baby or on mundane tasks like cooking, cleaning and laundry with the occasional pedicure thrown in for good measure.

Anyway. Sorry. Really.

So, it’s snowing here in New York this morning, Benjamin’s first glimpse of snow since the day he came home from the hospital. We are in our new apartment and life is taking on a certain pleasant rhythm. He’s thriving, and Damir and I continue to just drink in the experience of parenting.

When I started this motherhood journey, of course I started reading…books, articles, blogs, tweets… anything to clue me in on how this whole parenting thing works. It still amazes me that they just send you home from the hospital and say, good luck you’ll somehow figure it all out. And for the most part we have, at least so far. I wanted to share with you a blog posts that came across my desk this morning that answers the question: what to say when your child asks, “Is Santa Real?” 

Now, of course we are YEARS away from that conversation. B. won’t have any sense of what Christmas or Santa even is for a long time yet. But the answer to this question was worded in such a lovely, magical way that I wanted to:

1) Share it with you in case your kids might be getting to that age
2) Post it here so I can reference back to it when the time comes.

This isn’t some BS to feed your kid to prolong his/her belief in the big guy in the red suit. It’s a heartfelt truth into what the meaning of Christmas is all about. Please go to this post to read the entire context, but here’s an excerpt of the post of the letter Martha Brockenbroug wrote to her daughter in response to the question: ARE YOU SANTA? TELL ME THE TRUTH.

Tip: you may want to have a tissue or two handy.

 

** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **

Dear Lucy,

Thank you for your letter. You asked a very good question: “Are you Santa?”

I know you’ve wanted the answer to this question for a long time, and I’ve had to give it careful thought to know just what to say.

The answer is no. I am not Santa. There is no one Santa.

I am the person who fills your stockings with presents, though. I also choose and wrap the presents under the tree, the same way my mom did for me, and the same way her mom did for her. (And yes, Daddy helps, too.)

I imagine you will someday do this for your children, and I know you will love seeing them run down the stairs on Christmas morning. You will love seeing them sit under the tree, their small faces lit with Christmas lights.

This won’t make you Santa, though.

Santa is bigger than any person, and his work has gone on longer than any of us have lived. What he does is simple, but it is powerful. He teaches children how to have belief in something they can’t see or touch.

It’s a big job, and it’s an important one. Throughout your life, you will need this capacity to believe: in yourself, in your friends, in your talents and in your family. You’ll also need to believe in things you can’t measure or even hold in your hand. Here, I am talking about love, that great power that will light your life from the inside out, even during its darkest, coldest moments.

Santa is a teacher, and I have been his student, and now you know the secret of how he gets down all those chimneys on Christmas Eve: he has help from all the people whose hearts he’s filled with joy.

With full hearts, people like Daddy and me take our turns helping Santa do a job that would otherwise be impossible.

So, no. I am not Santa. Santa is love and magic and hope and happiness. I’m on his team, and now you are, too.

I love you and I always will.

Mama