Sweet little babies, waking up excited about Santa coming. A time of year when the little ones are just so happy to be alive and are enjoying all the magic of the season. Not aware of the monsters that are out there, and so innocent of the evil things we do to each other… And then?

Then an entire first-grade class had been wiped out, with many other children and adults killed or injured. So many parents regretting petty fights in the morning rituals with their precious little ones, knowing now that they will never see them again. So many broken hearts, so many shattered lives, so much innocence lost…

My son had some dental work done the day before this horrible day in history, and he had to have some teeth pulled…When he woke up that morning he had already found money from the tooth fairy, and he rushed into the living room to see what the “Advent Elf” had left him.

He was SO excited when he found 3 fossilized shark’s teeth. He wanted to take them to school. He got angry with me when I told him he couldn’t because they might get lost. We had a big fight. I keep thinking about that, and now years later, those shark teeth are long gone.

I find myself wondering how I would feel four years later if the tragedy at Sandy Hook had happened at my son’s school. Would I hold those teeth in my hand, and wish I had let him take them so that his last few hours would have been filled with excitement? I keep thinking about the parents who now have to live with similar situations with their kids, and it is so painful.

We send our kids off every day for eight hours or so five days a week, and leave them in the hands of people we don’t know. They ride in buses without seatbelts, often in snowy/icy conditions. We warn them of strangers, and still, we send them off where we can never help them when bad things happen.

When your kids drive you mental this Christmas Season try to remember how you felt this time of year and try to understand how hard it was for you to contain your excitement when you were their age.

But also try to remember that there are parents all over the world that would give anything to spend just five more minutes with a child that was taken from them too soon by some sort of tragedy, or another.

Let your kids be little as long as they want to, because life will happen far too soon as it is!

No matter how you celebrate this time of year, my wish for you is that your children, and your children’s children have the happiest holidays for years to come!

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Doug Alley

I grew up in Bath, Maine in an upper lower class family with 3 step sisters, a step brother, and a little sister. After high school I spent 3 years serving in the USAF at Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage AK....