Life, Work

My Light During Dark Days

I have never looked forward to the weekend as much as I did this Friday.

For the last seven days, it’s been one tragedy after another.

A constable stabbed and four people run over by a U-Haul truck in Edmonton. 58 people, including three Albertans, senselessly slaughtered in Las Vegas. A man’s remains found buried in the floor of a garage. A young man struck and killed by an LRT train. A gas station employee killed in a gas and dash. Not to mention a colleague who suffered a sudden loss.

My heart has been so heavy. All week, I felt like I was on the verge of unraveling and break down in tears.

In this business, you can’t just shut it off. Your job is to know the stories inside out. You have to watch the latest video of shots ringing, people ducking and survivors crying. You have to listen to chilling interviews of people mourning loved ones, and read those press releases about fatal traffic collisions.

Sadness, anger, death and confusion often fill your work week. That’s just the reality.

But then you get into your car, you drive home, and you go from one extreme to another. From sadness to joyfulness.

No darkness here. Just two little kids who light up at the sight of you walking through the door. They exude goodness, sweetness, and pure innocence. It’s so therapeutic for the soul.

Experiencing life through the eyes of a child is honestly one of the coolest privileges of being a parent.

 Photo credit: Dong Kim

Kids wave hello to strangers like they’re longtime friends.

They wave goodbye to their poo as they flush it away, convinced it’s ‘going home to rejoin all the other poos of the world’.

They say ‘see you later’ to their feet before sliding them into their shoes!

It’s so beautiful to watch.

Lately, my oldest has been getting emotional when we read books because she desperately wants to be a part of the story. She doesn’t understand why she can’t go play in Llama Llama’s living room, or walk through the forest with Little Red Riding Hood. That’s her biggest problem in life!

This week, I was lying on the carpet… next to her in her crib. We were both looking up at the ceiling, while I sang ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.’ Tears rolled down the sides of my face and into my ears. I could not get the images of Edmonton and Las Vegas out of my head. I kept singing, but my mind kept wandering.

We were both staring at the same ceiling, but with such different perspectives on life. I thought about life through Emmanuelle’s eyes. How she knows no loss, no pain, no heartbreak and no mistrust.

Her world is our little family; our safe, loving home. In her world, children aren’t neglected, malnourished or abused. Adults don’t run over each other with U-Haul trucks or open fire on an innocent crowd at a festival. Life is beautiful, kind and full of love.

My friend Vassy once told me that when she was 9 years old, she admitted to her mom that she no longer believed in Santa Claus. She says her mom broke down in tears.

I totally get it. The loss of childhood innocence. It’s such a precious commodity and I already see it eroding a little bit with each passing day. As a parent, I feel a great responsibility to protect it in my kids for as long as I possibly can.

I’m also trying to remind myself to be more present; to cherish the little moments, especially on a weekend where there is so much to be thankful for. Thankful simply for being alive, thankful for my health and thankful for my kids. Children really are the light in the darkest of times.