I bawled through my child’s Christmas concert yesterday. In fact, I had to leave. It was too much.
Five days after the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut our school held its pre-planned “Festival of Lights” Holiday concert. I call it a Christmas concert out of habit but the school paid a lovely tribute to multiple traditions. My daughter’s grade 2 class sang a Hanukkah song, others Diwali or Christmas. It was an all-inclusive celebration of children and goodness.
The concert was just for the wee primary kids, grades 1-3. The band showcased the older children but this was a time for the youngest children to shine.
Every time a class got up on the stage, I was reminded of Sandy Hook Elementary School. Rows and rows of six, seven and eight year olds. All the same age as the 20 beautiful children who lost their lives in last week’s senseless act of violence. Every child could have been a Newtown child.
It was the first time I had been IN our school since the Connecticut shooting. I found myself scanning down the hallways, imagining that terror happening here. In Sandy Hook they have a buzz system on their doors, we have no such thing. Our kids do practise lockdowns but the likelihood of this ever happening in Canada is so slim. Isn’t it??? Isn't that what the parents of Sandy Hook thought??
Either way, I can’t think about the possibilities. All I can think about was how all the parents in our gymnasium, and gymnasiums everywhere this season, are the luckiest parents. We have the chance to watch our children beam from the stage, poke their friends and giggle at the crowds. We are there to take our children home by the hand after the concert. We have the luxury of watching the concert without a worry about any of our safety.
Every other year, I’ve been a proud parent in the audience. This year, I felt more grateful than I’ve felt in a long time. Many people say this tragedy has taken the light out of Christmas for them, where I feel the opposite. If there’s any shred of goodness or awareness that comes out of this for me, it’s how unbelievably lucky we are to have our children in our lives. Their presence IS our Christmas present.
Christmas came early this year, for those not affected directly by a loss, it came on December 14th, 2012. In the darkness of the shadows, we were given the gift of perspective, appreciation and the gift of our perfectly, present children.
May you cherish your children more than ever this Christmas season. And bring Kleenex to everyday events where our little ones shine as they act as beacons of goodness and light in a world mourning the loss of innocence.
This song is a brilliant and beautiful tribute to the victims. I had shivers watching and listening and had to share with you.