new york city kid in arkansas
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Last night I had just put Huck to bed with a few good books and the same ditties I’ve been singing to him since he was three.  He doesn’t let me change my repertoire except at Christmastime when he allows the occasional “Silent Night” or “Away in the Manger.”  I kissed him good night and made my way into the living room where I got settled with my trusty laptop when I heard him cry out for me.  I returned to his bedside and heard a variation of something he’s been saying for the past year: “I’m so scared that I’m going to die someday.  Everything will just be over.  I won’t be able to learn anything ever again,” followed by weeping.  And though I typically freeze up in emergency situations, when it comes to this recurring death theme I seem to know the right thing to say to make him feel better while magically changing the subject. This time I quickly told him that if Heaven is real, the way I see it is we get to spend eternity with God in the happiest way we can imagine. If you love to learn, you keep learning; if you love the water, you get to swim with God; if you love nature you get to take lots of walks.  And you definitely get to be with all the people you love the most.  But no matter what Heaven is, dying is a mystery and none of us know exactly what’s next so we might as well spend our time thinking about living, which led to movies we want to see like Monsters, Inc. 3D and then he was back to normal and I was back on the couch.

We weren’t going to tell Huck about the Newtown tragedy, sure he wasn’t going to hear about it without us, sure no good could come of him knowing what happened just 60 miles away.  But then he found out anyway, due to a well meaning but unfortunately timed tribute at our church.  While one of our pastors named the children and adults who died, Huck climbed onto my lap and held onto me tightly.  The next day my Advent prayer book listed the geneology of Jesus with the following words: “This litany of names deserves to be read reverently, as all names do. I think of the lists that can easily dehumanize and pray that the dignity and experience of each person be respected. I consider that a life’s story lies behind each name that I see today.”  So this Advent I’ve been praying over a new litany of names: Charlotte Bacon, Olivia Engel, Dylan Hockley, Jesse Lewis, Ana Marquez-Greene, Grace McDonnell, Emilie Parker, Noah Pozner, Jessica Rekos, Daniel Barden, Josephine Gay, Madeleine Hsu, Catherine Hubbard, Chase Kowalski, James Mattioli, Jack Pinto, Caroline Previdi, Avielle Richman, Benjamin Wheeler, Allison Wyatt, Rachel D’Avino, Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, Anne Marie Murphy, Lauren Rousseau, Mary Sherlach and Victoria Soto.

And hoping for sweet dreams for my boy and all the rest of God’s children.

4 comments

shauntsies

December 20th, 2012

Teary.

December 20th, 2012

Love love love it. Wish I had a more intelligent comment, but it’s a tough subject. And you did it justice perfectly.

Aunt Jeni

December 20th, 2012

Chills. Wonderful words, sissy.

pappy T

December 20th, 2012

sweet dreams for us all. :)

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