Monday, December 17, 2012


What is there to say?

As a parent, I have cried numerous times over the weekend. Picking up my son's dinosaurs and Legos, thinking of the toys those children left behind. Sharing chocolate-chip pancakes with my kiddoes on Saturday morning, thinking of the weekend those children never woke up to. Singing "I Won't Grow Up" from "Peter Pan" with my daughter, thinking of those children who will, indeed, never grow up.

As a teacher, I was shaken to the core on my commute this morning. I replayed numerous nightmare scenarios in my mind, imagining all the points of entry a gunman would have into our school. Mentally plotting out hiding spots for my students in the various classrooms and spaces I teach in. Thinking of what I would possibly to say to them in such a situation. What I did tell them this morning was that I would protect them by any means necessary; that they would be safe.

As a citizen, I am outraged. There are so many questions, which will never be answered. What was Adam's motive? Why an elementary school? Why did his mother have all those guns? Why is it so easy to buy a weapon (and multiple ones at that)? Why don't the mentally ill have better access to health care?

And the worst...why did God allow this to happen?

As we enter into the holiday season, I am not seeking any answers. Instead, I am fully embracing and welcoming the usual Christmas craziness. I will not complain. I will not get stressed. I will accept life for the big beautiful mess that it is, and I will squeeze my precious children very tightly through it all.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Wishing Your Life Away

LOVE Park in Philadelphia, which is right next to my school, has been transformed into "Christmas Village." Basically it's a winter wonderland of vendors--some selling cool stuff (authentic Russian nesting dolls, hand-dipped chocolate-covered fruit), and most selling crap (Philly snowglobes, Liberty Bell mugs).

I am obsessed. I walk through every day and have to buy something: a cone of roasted cashews, a lavender sachet for my Secret Santa, you name it. But something caught my eye the other day that not only caused me to stop for a moment, but gave me something to ponder the whole ride home until bedtime.

There is a "Wishing Wall" set up at the entrance (you can see it on the left in the pic above). For $4, you buy an ornament, write your "wish" on it, and hang it on the wall for all to see. ($1 goes to the Make-A-Wish foundation.)

I paused for a while and read all of the ornaments. Some were hilarious ("TO MEET ONE DIRECTION PLEEEEZZZZ!"); others were painfully poignant ("for mom to beat cancer"). All, however, naturally had a sense of longing, hope, and faith.

I started thinking about what my wish would be for this year. Obviously there are the usual general wishes for the common good (peace, joy, etc.). But personal wishes?
I was happily stumped. All of my wishes have come true.

At the risk of sounding's true. I have an amazing husband, two beautiful kidlets, a happy home life, good friends, a job I love, health...everyone I love seems to be in a good place.

Is it just age, I wondered? Am I just more content, at 36, then I was 10 or 15 years ago?

So I did a little experiment on the way home. I tried to think back to the year 1997--a year that profoundly changed my life, for a number of reasons--to see what exactly I would have wished for, had there been a "Wishing Wall" in my life that Christmas... find a job that fits my professional and personal needs be home with my baby girl
2009...that TJ will adjust well to his new brother or sister start acting again not miss Loyola (and our lives in NYC/Jersey City) so dreadfully
2006...for a healthy baby know what "the next step" should be find peace in my new job get out of the city be home in PA for Christmas be with my fiancee during the holidays know what the future holds be a better teacher fall in love be a better person

It's kind of an interesting view your life through the lens of desire, and observe how those hopes changed (or were exceeded beyond your wildest imagination!).

I couldn't ask for anything else this Christmas. I am truly blessed. So I guess my wish this year is related to to channel this joy and contentment into somehow paying it forward.