Holiday Gratitude

Today is the first day of winter.  At 6 am the darkest day of the year began and so did winter.  Winter for me is always a time of introspection, the time of the hibernating bear.  A time to reflect on decisions, situations, and choices made during the past year.  2012 was a year of great conflict and growth.   Exuberant happiness and deep sadness.  As I get ready for an afternoon of cookie baking with my daughter I am listening to the sound of 26 bells tolling for the lost souls of Sandy Hook Elementary.  Gratefully I smell the freshly shampooed hair of my daughter as she sorts sprinkles, flour, cookie cutters, unsweetened cocoa, various types of sugar and decorations and send love to those grieving parents.  Hugging my child close we talk about what this year brought.  Our dog Daisy spent five weeks in ICU after a corrective surgery went horribly wrong, Michaela learned to knit and crochet, we introduced chickens at home and now celebrate our daily gathering of eggs, our friend Doug died in a horrible car accident, and so many other events that mark 2012.  In light of all that happened we remain committed to helping where we can and giving what we can to those in need.  Michaela, my daughter, made snowflakes for the surviving children of Sandy Hook so they will be able to see them in their new school.  With the innocence possessed only by a child she sang as she cut the shapes from patterns intelligently downloaded from the computer and held each one up for my approval.  Her smiling face reminds me that in time we will all heal, that time goes by and the pain lessens and may even become bearable for those directly impacted just before the holidays.  My prayers for the holidays for the parents of Sandy Hook children and teachers, our downed soldiers, and all parents struggling with mental health issues in their children are heartfelt.  May they never feel alone, may they know always they are loved, and mostly may they know how much we all treasure the children whomever they belong to.  I am off to make gingerbread men and a house.  This year for me the cookies will taste all the more sweet because I baked with my child.

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