Remembering What’s Important This Holiday Season

This time yesterday, I was worried about Christmas presents. I was stressed out because I spent ~$200 in two days on gifts and decorations. I was trying to figure out how T-Man and I are going to be able to fit in seeing our families, each other, and each other’s families between December 23rd-25th.

Today, I’m just grateful that my family and friends are all still here.

us & macy

My cousin Macy is 9 years old and goes to school in West Hartford, Connecticut. It’s a whole 45 miles away from Newtown, Connecticut, but that is still close enough that I had a good scare this morning when I woke up, rolled over to read Twitter on my phone (What? You’re tellin’ me not everyone reads social media first thing in the morning?) and saw that there was a shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut.

I texted my aunt, who confirmed that everything was OK in West Hartford, but said that there were police at all the schools. Better safe than sorry, I suppose.

me n macy

Children bring a joy to life that I believe can combat many ills. They’re not jaded like the rest of us, they represent both a youthful innocence that most of us have lost (haha) and a genuine curiosity that few people maintain throughout the years. Some, like Macy, are smart beyond their years. That anyone would wish to harm children is a heartbreaking thought.

I may only have one elementary school-aged child in my close extended family, but today’s events bring to mind another fact: there were also school teachers and administrators killed.

My best friend teaches 3rd grade at an elementary school in Brooklyn. My oldest cousin teaches Special Ed at an elementary school on Long Island. One of my closest friends from college teaches 3rd grade in the Bay Area. My family is full of educators (my mom and her sisters work in education, and my grandmother was a school counselor) and I have never thought their choice of career put them in danger. I admire my friends and family who dedicate their lives to educating others and enriching the lives of future generations. That anyone would wish to harm teachers is an equally heartbreaking thought to me.

There has never been a better day to tell the young ones and educators in your life that you love and appreciate them.

gchat with joan

…Even if the way you choose to express it is a little silly 🙂

Being that I am a politically-minded individual (I am an assistant to 2 lobbyists after all, for those of you who don’t know), I am also closely following the political commentary surrounding this tragedy. Though I personally do have a pretty specific opinion that follows my party lines, I completely respect both sides. I also think that if this is the time we take on gun control, it’s going to be a very difficult issue to legislate, especially in today’s congressional climate.

There’s a simple reason for this. There are two very natural instincts to any kind of attack. One is to disarm the person that is attacking you: karate kick the gun out of their hand, somehow knock away their knife, or chop off their punching fist or something. The other is, of course, to fight back: engage in a standoff or a firefight, return their left hook with a right jab. (Sorry, I really don’t know anything about boxing, haha)

The issue with these two natural instincts, and the reason why I think gun control is a very touchy issue, is that both instincts are right to the person who experiences them. Rachel Maddow would feel better taking the gun away from potential mass murderers, AND Bill O’Reilly would sleep better at night knowing he has a carry permit and could use his gun in self defense, if needed.

Alright, enough political talk. Please hug your loved ones this holiday season.

I leave you with a semi-funny article from the Onion on today’s events! Watch out, lots of bad words in that one.