play it again: where is the light today


“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” – Nelson Mandela

originally published December 14, 2012

I had already prepared a little light-hearted bit of fluff for my blog featuring a cute, happy, smiling, clapping toddler but coming home from dropping my two youngest children off to school for the day to sad news…horrible news…WTF kind of news I just could not publish it. Not today.

Catherine‘s sweet nephew, Tanner, is no longer able to breathe on his own. Yes Tanner of Tutus for Tanner fame. It just doesn’t seem fair.

Then I turned on the news and…

Yes.

Again.

We could discuss mental illness and guns and Second Amendment rights and what not and my bleeding heart would likely explode. But it doesn’t change the fact that twenty boys and girls…FIRST GRADERS kissed their mommies and daddies goodbye for the day and skipped off into their classrooms for a day at school…where they should be safe. Instead they laid bloodied and shot alongside teachers and a principal who tried to protect them from such evil, dark insanity.

Such darkness there just did not seem to allow room for light-hearted fluff. How could anyone see it in such darkness?

I could not.

So instead I followed the news of the events unfolding and watched the President choke back tears as he remembered beautiful, little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old and he called us all to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.

I went for a 4 mile run hoping to make sense of today’s sadness because I do some of my best thinking when I am running. Unfortunately answers did not come. But the tears did.

I held my breath when I learned that dear Victoria was waiting to hear from family of the whereabouts of her 6 year old nephew, a student at Sandy Hook Elementary. Then I cried bitter, sad tears later when I learned that her nephew, Noah, was one of the victims of today.

Where is the light today?

I waited at Daniel’s school during the afternoon pickup weeping…weeping for Tanner, for Noah and for so much loss today. Then the bell rang and the boys and girls came rushing out of the gate. For them it was the joy of school being out and, hurray, it is the weekend. For the parents waiting it was the joy of being able to hold their babies, hug them and kiss them. There was so much hugging. Again the tears began to roll down my face. Daniel approached the car and I wrapped him into my arms and held on for as long as I could.

“Mom, why are you hugging me so long?”, he asked.

Choking back tears I reply, “Because it has been a very sad day.”

“Well then I need to hug you more, Mom!”, and he did.

And then there was a tiny spark of light in that beautiful boy’s face and his warm hug. Still it was bittersweet as I thought of families today who did not get to hug their children and won’t be any more like I was hugging mine.

We all find ourselves in this cold, dense darkness and we all are desperate for light, any light because even the smallest of light can overpower the darkest of darkness. Those of us with our families near cling to the light that shines from them; and yes, the darkness will be scattered in the brightness of their light, no matter how tiny it might be.

We are blessed people…don’t ever doubt that.

But tonight, while you hug your children, pray for Tanner’s family, pray for Noah’s family, pray for the families of Sandy Hook.

Tomorrow we must take action. We must. The light we are fortunate enough to possess can only chase away this darkness if we stand up with it and move forward. We must. For the children…for our children. Our children deserve the right to feel safe in movie theaters, in shopping centers, in places of worship, in malls and at school and not fear being gunned down.

a few of his favorite things


And now the countdown begins…

Seriously this is probably the funnest part of the gift giving that goes on here under the Big Top. Don’t get me wrong, I do love the mass chaos that is Christmas morning with all of my circus clowns. But the days leading up to that wonderful morning are much more fun for me.

The waiting and wondering…

Just what could be in all these simply wrapped packages, some which are, indeed, brown paper packages tied up with string?

Well, we will just have to wait and see.

Until Christmas morning…

This week’s Focus 52 prompt is BROWN PAPER PACKAGES

where is the light today


I had already prepared a little light-hearted bit of fluff for my blog featuring a cute, happy, smiling, clapping toddler but coming home from dropping my two youngest children off to school for the day to sad news…horrible news…WTF kind of news I just could not publish it. Not today.

Catherine‘s sweet nephew, Tanner, is no longer able to breathe on his own. Yes Tanner of Tutus for Tanner fame. It just doesn’t seem fair.

Then I turned on the news and…

Yes.

Again.

We could discuss mental illness and guns and Second Amendment rights and what not and my bleeding heart would likely explode. But it doesn’t change the fact that twenty boys and girls…KINDERGARTENERS kissed their mommies and daddies goodbye for the day and skipped off into their classrooms for a day at school…where they should be safe. Instead they laid bloodied and shot alongside teachers and a principal who tried to protect them from such evil, dark insanity.

Such darkness there just did not seem to allow room for light-hearted fluff. How could anyone see it in such darkness?

I could not.

So instead I followed the news of the events unfolding and watched the President choke back tears as he remembered beautiful, little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old and he called us all to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.

I went for a 4 mile run hoping to make sense of today’s sadness because I do some of my best thinking when I am running. Unfortunately answers did not come. But the tears did.

I held my breath when I learned that dear Victoria was waiting to hear from family of the whereabouts of her 6 year old nephew, a student at Sandy Hook Elementary. Then I cried bitter, sad tears later when I learned that her nephew, Noah, was one of the victims of today.

Where is the light today?

I waited at Daniel’s school during the afternoon pickup weeping…weeping for Tanner, for Noah and for so much loss today. Then the bell rang and the boys and girls came rushing out of the gate. For them it was the joy of school being out and, hurray, it is the weekend. For the parents waiting it was the joy of being able to hold their babies, hug them and kiss them. There was so much hugging. Again the tears began to roll down my face. Daniel approached the car and I wrapped him into my arms and held on for as long as I could.

“Mom, why are you hugging me so long?”, he asked.

Choking back tears I reply, “Because it has been a very sad day.”

“Well then I need to hug you more, Mom!”, and he did.

And then there was a tiny spark of light in that beautiful boy’s face and his warm hug. Still it was bittersweet as I thought of families today who did not get to hug their children and won’t be any more like I was hugging mine.

We all find ourselves in this cold, dense darkness and we all are desperate for light, any light because even the smallest of light can overpower the darkest of darkness. Those of us with our families near cling to the light that shines from them; and yes, the darkness will be scattered in the brightness of their light, no matter how tiny it might be.

We are blessed people…don’t ever doubt that.

But tonight, while you hug your children, pray for Tanner’s family, pray for Noah’s family, pray for the families of Sandy Hook.

Tomorrow we must take action. We must. The light we are fortunate enough to possess can only chase away this darkness if we stand up with it and move forward. We must. For the children…for our children. Our children deserve the right to feel safe in movie theaters, in shopping centers, in places of worship, in malls and at school and not fear being gunned down.

decking in progress


Busy, busy, busy…who isn’t busy during these last few days before we discover whether the Mayans were correct or celebrate the end of 2012 and the start of 2013?

Everyone is busy.

At least it seems to be that way.

Last week’s Focus 52 prompt was DECK THE HALLS and, well, I am still decking. It’s not like I have a lot of Christmas Crazy to put up…even if I do. It’s just doing it.

The trees are up…that’s a start.

I have so many favorites that are packed away with all the Big Top’s Christmas Crazy and every year the memories, the laughter, the tears, the warm fuzzy glow-y feeling come rushing out…just as the dust does too when I unpack them all. My favorites are all of them because they are so beautifully steeped with so many memories, laughter, tears and warm, fuzzy, glow-y feelings. But if I were to choose my absolute favorite they would have to be the ones that are unpacked and currently decking the halls of the Big Top right now…and quietly mocking the other treasures still wrapped and packed in Rubbermaid boxes sitting in the front room.

And my number one favorite is the one that was not fashioned by hands of someone who might have lived or is living now under the Big Top.

The one made by a traveler nurse I worked with back in 2002 who fell in love with my baby boy and his family.

The one that represents when our family circus was complete…well, until my first born clown grew up up and had some beautiful babies.

All the handmade treasures, the majority made by my own precious circus act, are out and decking our halls and, well, part of me thinks that is more than enough because they are the best of all the Christmas Crazy that we have collected over the years.





The decking remains in progress, still I can’t help but find myself distracted and relaxed as I look at our big tree covered with my kids’ ornament collections and their hand made creations and think to myself that the decking is complete because my family circus is so wonderful, so lucky, so blessed.

I’m seriously going to keep my focus on that truth no matter how crazy, stressed or overwhelmed this Christmas crazy might make me.

Life is so wonderful.

I am so lucky.

We all are so blessed.

layers


It’s December…dang, how fast 2012 has blurred by us all! I should be getting excited and all warm and glow-y with Christmas spirit but I’m not. At least not yet. But I’m trying to get in the spirit of it all…or at least join my clowns. Yesterday I bought an Advent calendar for Daniel to open every day until December 25 and he literally

Can.

Not.

Wait.

His excitement makes me smile. But I still don’t feel like hauling out all the Christmas crazy to deck the halls of the Big Top. At least not yet. But I am working on it. Working hard on it. I’m doing the Runners World Holiday Run Streak again to energize me. It certainly worked last year. I’m taking those little pills I had to split and am seeing an ever so slight improvement in some of that which has been making me so physically and emotionally miserable this last year. Slight is better than none…right? I’m paying it forward in the Starbucks line. I’m forcing myself to smile at complete strangers and thank each and every store clerk and Salvation Army bell ringer that I see. I’m reaching out to a dear friend and co-worker offering to work Christmas Eve for her so she can spend what I imagine will be a bittersweet Christmas with her own family….please, oh please, powers that be approve our request.

Any moment now the joy, the excitement, the warmth and the glow of this Season will overwhelm me…any moment now.

Maybe if I did that creepy Elf on the Shelf…um, no. He reminds me too much of Pennywise. Thankfully, Daniel is just as creeped out by that Elf as I am.

Perhaps I should just suck it up and pull the holiday decorations out of storage.

Yeah.

For now I will take in this treasured bit of holiday goodness here in my neck of the woods.

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People gasp and shake their heads with disdain and disgust of the waste and all that but the Brock Family’s annual labor of love has brought our family circus and thousands and thousands of other families great joy year after year. We have been bundling up our clowns to see this display in our town every year, often every week during December year after year since Daniel was truly our little man. It has truly become part of our holiday tradition. But then last year, after an accident, the Brock family home was dark. There was plenty of other wonderful displays to take in but it just wasn’t the same. At least we felt that way. But, thankfully, they are back this year with over 150,000 lights to brighten up the Manteca night sky and our hearts.

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Daniel and I have already stopped by twice just this past week. So worth it as I enjoy his re-discovering and memories of his favorite parts of the display. So worth his smiles and exclamations of how awesome it is. He has grown up with this display every Christmas since he was almost two. I’m so glad to have him enjoy it again.

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Worth it as I walk around the home mingling with so many other smiling people who quietly take it all in.

The layers upon layers of bright lights and colorful displays really do have such a positive affect on me…on my family circus…on our community…and I imagine, as they witness the crowds that have come back night after night since Thanksgiving night, on the Brock family as well.

Thank you Renee and Dale Brock and Merry Christmas to you and yours.

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Okay, fine! I will start hauling out the Christmas decorations and deck these halls!

This week’s Focus 52 prompt is LAYERS.