December 16, 2012

White lights

The drive from Biker Boy's foster home to my house takes about 45 minutes. That gave Biker Boy and me time alone to talk in the car this morning. He told me about stuff that had happened to him over the last week, and then he said, "I know about the shooting -- the kids getting killed."

I glanced over at his face. "I wondered how much you knew," I said. He's eleven, so I figured he would have heard the horrifying news.

He said his foster father had talked to him about it. "It's really sad," he said. "But there were good people there too. Like teachers who tried to save kids and hide them and stuff. Just one person who was shooting, but the other grown-ups wanted to stop him."

Unlike most of the adults I've talked to since Friday, he didn't express any shock or disbelief. He didn't say, "I can't believe something like this could happen." He's eleven, but he already knows that unspeakably bad things happen to kids. He's known that since he was small.

We talked as we drove past cornfields and red barns. But once we pulled into my driveway, we agreed to stop talking about topics that made us sad. It was time for a comforting seasonal ritual: getting our Christmas tree.

Once we were in the house, I made Biker Boy a cup of cocoa. Brooklyn Friend had come in for the weekend and she was already drinking a cup of hot tea. While we waited for my husband to get home from the gym, we ate cookies and moved furniture to make room for the Christmas tree. With-a-Why stopped texting his girlfriend long enough to play the piano — songs from the Charlie Brown Christmas special.

We went to the same Christmas tree stand we always go to. The family who owns it are super nice. I like to walk through the rows of freshly cut trees, smelling them. Biker Boy likes to run up to each tree and yell, "This one! Can we buy this one?" and then change his mind two seconds later.

The teenage boy who came over to help us was patient and cheerful. When Biker Boy finally chose a tree, he showed him the machine that you push the tree through: the tree ends up magically tied up with twine.

Back at the house, we ate pizza (it's a tradition) and built a fire (another tradition). My daughter and Sailor Boy came over to help decorate — or rather watch while Biker Boy and I decorated the tree. Shaggy Hair Boy played Christmas music on the piano. We ended the day with a feast of Italian food that my husband picked up from a local restaurant.

It was dark by the time we got back on the highway to take Biker Boy back to his foster home. "You did a great job picking out the tree," I told him.

He leaned back against the car seat sleepily. "Yep. I did." Trimming the tree


Martha Spong said...

Thank you for this bright light on a dark night.

Anonymous said...

very lovely tree....the world needs lovely reminders of light faith hope and family tradition...not just today or at christmas but simply everyday our world may be changing more radically than all of us would even dream of...but the only constant to truly save it and all of humanity is simple pure love and pizza and italian food certainly doesnt hurt

liz said...


kathy a. said...

that is a fabulous tree! and a fabulous day.

been thinking of BB, and i'm glad he has all these holiday traditions to anchor him through various storms. xoxo

robin andrea said...

A wonderful balance to the madness loose in the world. What a good emotional anchor you are to Biker Boy. That's the true gift.

Elaine said...

Gorgeous tree!

readersguide said...

It's a glorious tree!

Anonymous said...

a beautiful tree

Sarah Sometimes said...

And he did a good job decorating the tree. It looks incredible!

Rev Dr Mom said...

He did!

Amber said...

Thank you for putting so much goodness and joy into the world.

Amazing tree!