You are haunted by this enormous bad thing. Mercifully, you are given the gift of a snow day, one more day to keep the gingerbread boys home, away from wagging mouths that might take their innocence. You know you can't protect them forever, but from this, you must at least try. It is too horrific for adults to process, let alone the twelve-and-under crowd. Oh, they know something happened, but they are ignorant of the details. You pray they remain so.
You yourself have had nightmares about it; your usual nightmares never connect to reality, but spring forth the strange brainchild of a cross between a post-apocolyptic read and a snack that brings on unimaginable weirdness.
This is pain. This is grieving. This is scraping the edges of a possibility too awful to contemplate.
Even in your deep faith and knowledge of an eternal life and a loving Father in Heaven, you are stunned by this. Caught in the abyss between nightmares and sleeplessness. Caught in the web of societal pain that seemingly knows no bound.
You hug the gingerbread boys, and feel guilty when you snap at them for behaviors that should not be tolerated. You think, what if this were to happen to them? What if the thread of their fragile life were to be clipped--snip!--just like that, and you were left with the memory of your discipline, your irritation, your lack of patience towards them. The weight of your own long list of faults nearly suffocates you. You feel the burden of how you just don't meet your own expectations as a parent.
You decide to go for a walk. Some exercise will do you good. But you find yourself at the corner of the next street over, the corner where the crowded pine trees grow. Covered with snow, they look exactly like Narnia. And you find yourself thinking that it's always winter and never Christmas. Even with Christmas just eight days away, it feels like it will always be winter and never Christmas.