A somber weekend

The weekend of December 8-9 had been pretty busy for my household: a cookie-exchange party, my husband’s office party, joining our new church, and I went to a Christmas concert Sunday evening. That’s a lot of anchor events. It was also the weekend we were all in the process of getting sick with the stomach bug, so we ended it a bit wiped out.  

This past weekend was different. There were more have-to-dos, like getting my car’s oil changed and figuring out how to deal with the mouse we suspect has taken refuge in our basement. I am in crunch mode on a few projects and spent some more time working: a few hours Sunday, plus writing a short piece for USA Today related to the utterly awful events at Sandy Hook Elementary. This Christmas, those families will be burying their children rather than opening presents with them. It is hard to think about, though we should think about it. And also think of the ongoing tragedy around the world of child mortality — of societies where it is the normal experience for parents to lose a child for preventable reasons.

I spent some quality time with my own kids this slower and somber weekend. My baby daughter and I went to breakfast at Dunkin‘ Donuts together; the staff gave her free donut holes, which she adored. We went shopping at REI while the boys got their hair cut. We went for a walk today to go see some horses (“neighs”). My husband and I took advantage of the slightly warm-ish weather to sit on the back porch together after the kids went to sleep Saturday night. Sunday morning, I went to church and heard the new minister who was preaching her (yes, her) trial sermon. In the Presbyterian church, a pastoral search committee nominates a pastor and then, after this person preaches at a service, the whole church votes. Rev. Norfleet has a slight southern lilt and a big presence. She’d no doubt written her first sermon for us weeks ago, but in light of the events Friday she had quickly updated it and it still made sense — a theme of peripheral characters in the Christmas story made deeper with references to “Herod’s evils.” I’m looking forward to listening to her over the next few years.

How did you spend this weekend?

7 thoughts on “A somber weekend

  1. I read about half of your ebook while nursing, so YAY. Loving it so far. Our weekends and weekdays are all blending into each other so we’re trying to be more deliberate about making plans, especially for the next two weeks where NONE of us has to go anywhere (preschool is closed).

    Today we baked cookies and went out to buy Santa hats and ate sushi. We also had video chats with both sets of parents and read books 15 and 16 of our Book Advent. So nothing terribly exciting, but lots of fun.

    We’re attempting an overnight (road) trip tomorrow so fingers crossed that the baby travels well.

    1. @ARC- wow, 2 weeks where no one has to go anywhere. You should think about what to do with it, because that length of time will likely be rare in weeks to come! Glad you’re getting a chance to read the book…

  2. I struggled to keep things normal for my kids, even as I was very upset by Friday’s events. We had my 3 year old’s class stuffed animal home with us this weekend- a big penguin named Pete. So Pete had to have some adventures, which we arranged. Also, my sister had tickets to take my 5 year old to see the Nutcracker today, so they did that. And I finished my Christmas cards. But really, the defining thing was feeling sad and not wanting to show it while my kids were awake, and feeling angry and disenfranchised by our gun-loving culture, and not knowing what to do with that feeling. I haven’t been so politically active in years- I wrote a blog post, wrote letters, signed a petition at WhiteHouse.gov, and donated money to both the Brady Center and the Campaign for American Kids (a mental health charity). But I’m still angry and agitated. I think I need to put that aside until after the holidays, for my kids’ sake. But then I think I need to figure out what to do with that energy.

  3. It does seem the tide is turning on the 2nd amendment and gun control legislation. That appears to be up there with legalizing drugs which I also support. The Catholic priest gave a sermon asking folks in the congregation to ask for the law to be rescinded so I believe the church has taken a stance. Also he asked members of the congregation to be more mindful of what you let your children play with.. the level of violence in most video games targeting young boys is amazing. horrifying.
    I remain committed to the fact that mental health and mental illness are grossly misunderstood biologically based concepts and that these disorders are manageable and these incidents highly preventible. Why wasn’t that young man given his symptoms, in a caring and loving institution similar to the kind of place (locked) where we put our loved ones when they get alzheimers? The nanny who murdered those two beautiful kids in NYC Oct 25th had all the telltale early signs of psychosis (which is a treatable biological-based illness and she killed those kids with a common kitchen knife so it isn’t just about the guns). Mandatory commitment needs to get back on the table as does mental health paid leave time … mandated by the government. Annual psychiatric exams should be required for many things (daycare entry etc) so that if someone were experiencing symptoms they could get free help. The Colorado shooter was seeing a psychiatrist and also had telltale early warning signs of psychosis and violence. He was dismissed from school and left to wonder the streets of his neighborhood without even a phone call to his parents. That university should be sued for that behavior which in my eyes is responsible for those deaths in Aurora.

    1. @Cara- I do hope the mental health issues gets a lot of play too. Obviously you don’t want to see people locked up who could function in normal society with some assistance but on the other hand, the pendulum seems to have swung too far toward not helping people at all. I guess some folks believe mentally ill homeless people (to take one example) have the right to be left alone but I’m not sure there’s a right to die unhelped.

  4. It’s such a small world. I am local to you so I imagined the big Presbyterian chuch in the area when I read your post this morning. Just after I get to work, one of my coworkers tells us a story about going to church yesterday at the church I imagined. Her story includes the sermon by the new (female) minister, the search for said minister, and the congregation’s vote to (overwhelmingly) approve her appointment. Funny.

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