Keeping the Normalcy and Holiday Spirit Alive

Baby with Christmas presentsEvery morning I have awakened with a lump in my throat and a surge of anxiety since the devastating massacre in Connecticut. I try to clear my mind with deep cleansing breaths, positive imagery and prayer for those all affected. But the problem is, I don’t know anyone who wasn’t affected by this tragedy. Even the newborn knows his mother is tense and crying more than usual.

So my quest, my personal goal is to continue praying for those in need, helping in whatever way I can and then making sure my children return to normalcy. Now if you have ever met my family, normalcy is so wacky and zany – usually involving interpretive dance and jazz hands every other day – so we have our work cut out for us to get to that point again. But I wish for this holiday to be one of deep love, family time and yes, a puppet show or two.

One thing I have noticed is that Alf, our Elf on the Shelf, who I might have previously mentioned I am not fond of (or is the bane of my existence, since he sometimes decides not to move at night and it upsets my children and makes them feel unworthy of his love. ARGHHHH!) is upset by the Connecticut incident as well. Alf is barely moving to another place each night and my children are noticing his lazy behavior.

Well, Mr. Alf this is your wake-up call: you need to pull it together and get more creative for my kids! They deserve it.

• I promise not to call you names and roll my eyes at you if you “up-your-game” and make this last week fun for my girls.
• I will start taking pics of you again and showing you off to my friends.
• It’s unfortunate it took this type of devastation and horrific incident for me to get my priorities straight,
but Alf, you are part of my family, and I promise to treat you better.
• I will not let other mom-bloggers bring me down and join them in badmouthing our elves at Christmas parties or Facebook.

I know our time together is limited, Alf. I don’t know how long you will be in our life, so I am going to change my Christmas Carol and sing your praises.

I’m starting a new movement:

“EMBRACE YOUR INNER ELF: YOU NEVER KNOW HOW LONG YOU’LL HAVE THE MAGIC”
Alf on Bike

Hug your kids for me too, kay?! Happy holidays, friends.

©2012, Stacey Hatton. All rights reserved.

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Best Parenting Advice Received Nation Grieves for Loss of our Babies

Father Smiling Holding Young SonIt is challenging to take time to sit at the computer and write my thoughts when all I want to do is schmoosh my children and slather their faces with kisses. But they have informed me it is time to play with their dolls and read some books; because unlike those beautiful babies in Connecticut, my children haven’t been affected by the devastation this country experienced yesterday…not yet.

I have the entire weekend to keep them innocent and untouched. Those parents in CT don’t afford that luxury. How many of you have thought about putting your children in your pocket or a small box and just carry them around with you forever since you heard the news? Did the flash of homeschooling go through your mind? The thought lasted much longer than it ever has before, but then I realized my kids really do need amazing teachers who are qualified to educate and not just some anxiety ridden over-protective nurse.

The fact is that as a parent all I can do is shower my kids with love and let them feel like they are safe – which is a small miracle in its own is. And the only way to make them feel safe is with steadfast demonstrations of love. That’s a hard pill to swallow, but that’s what all the professionals are saying (and I’m NOT one of them).

I am writing as a parent who is just trying to get through this. I am a wife, a mother, a sister and friend who is struggling to understand how this could ever happen. Glancing at social media after the children went to sleep last night, I know every adult in this country is grasping for answers and a place to connect with others. They are looking for a place to open up about how to talk to their kids about death and mental illness.

Through my relations with professionals who have expertise in this area, I will relay information regarding the subject and hope all will feel they can ask questions or share their experiences for others to learn from (whether it is successful or not). I need this as well. Takes a village, right?!

As promised, here is some of the best advice I received from an adolescent pediatrician.

He said, “When hugging a child, never let go first.”

I will repeat this. NEVER LET GO FIRST…EVER.

This shows the child you are there for them. You are their support and it is THEIR decision to let go, spread their wings and become independent. All of that is implied in each hug.

It can change your relationship with your children. Immediately.

May prayers, strength and love continue to flourish during this challenging time.

And let the only fighting in our country be to see who lets go of that hug first!

© 2012, Stacey Hatton. All rights reserved.

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