20 May 2008

Arbitrary festival dating - Holocaust Memorial Day

Yesterday was so busy in the end! Normal stuff; Story Time, Museum (most time spent with the model solar system and looking at the new art exhibits upstairs, anyone in Derby you HAVE to see the installation with street debris making up a map of the city!). Shopping, putting away, housework, painting (seascapes with crayon and a wash of bright blue), making tea.

In the evening I got changed - though it took about twenty minutes to find any of my clothes that weren't somehow marked by craft, food, or toddler drool. And out I went to a leaving "do" for someone in the befriending organisation. I hate that kind of event. Not that I don't admire and respect (even like) the person whose leaving it was for. Like my mum (who I was with, as she's on the board of trustees for the charity I work for), I know that I am marked out as generally antisocial which is also not really it.

I just struggle with enforced mixing of the polite-smiles and politically-correct-boring-conversation kind. If I were to be totally honest in reply to some of the typical things said at such times, I would shock up upset someone. Contrary to how it seems, that ISN'T my aim in life! I settle for polite but firm saying-nothing-and-changing-the-subject behaviour. I stood in a corner mostly, and talked to my boss who wanted to know about my jewellery.

This morning we made the quick decision not to go to soft play. Morgan has had a runny nose for a couple of days, but today it was green and disgusting and she was a bit sensitive again. In my books that means she's got a cold, and even though going out would be fun (and I'm sure Morgan would be fine) I don't want to spread the germs.

Since we didn't know when Holocaust Memorial Day was this year and missed it, we decided arbitrarily to make it today. We made a little picture with sad things written on it - Jenna's contributions well beyond her years - and read some age-appropriate stories about the lives of Jewish children in those terrible times. We don't want today to be totally about grief and horror, so we're keeping it only gently thoughful (focussing mostly on all people everywhere being brothers and sisters, and how we can live like that in everyday life). We've baked Challah and will share it at tea time later with some prayers and readings I found online.

I question how much my children are shielded from, what I *should* tell them, how much detail they are ready for. Although I don't want the "real world" to overshadow the joy and vitality of their world of play, neither do I want them to be prevented from experiencing a real connection to other people who are grieving (or to lack a feeling of being able to cope when things do go wrong for us). Perhaps she would not be so thoughful, even pessimistic, if she had never seen the news or heard fairy tales in their original forms. ;) Or just maybe if she had been so protected she would never have been able to process the death of her sibling in utero.

Dark and serious thoughts for the day. Not ALL dark and serious thoughts of course. There has been dancing and smiling today, laughing and fun, Shrek on video and our usual music playing. On such normal days bad things have happened in our history. On such normal days in small ways we remember them, light a candle against the darkness, and pray that they will never happen again.

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