This morning I woke up to the sound of my 3.5 year old calling for her mommy. I walked the few steps from my room to her room, and laid by her toddler bed, in her warm room, in a home we own, in the only home she has ever known, until she drifted back to sleep.
Last night, my husband and I were reflecting, before bed, on where our own parents were when they were the age we are now. His family had just come from Peru, landing in Miami, when his dad was the age he is now, starting a new life with a 9 year old and a 6 year old (eventually, they would add a little girl to their family in the states). My mother was caring for her own newborn (me!) when she was my age. Soon, she would also begin a new chapter of her life, moving across the US from New York to California with a young toddler and an almost teenager, to be with my aunt, uncle and grandmother, during a difficult time of transition as she and my father divorced.
This morning, laying next to my daughter’s bed, I thought about the migrant children who are spending this Christmas Eve separated from their families in Tornillo, Texas. I thought about the Cambodian-American children across the US separated from parents who were recently deported to Cambodia after years of peacefully living in the US, parents who had lived all of life that they could remember in the United States after resettling here as political refugees. I thought about military families who are spending this holiday separated from one another as a family member is involved in an overseas engagement. I thought about families separated from their loved ones by loss, grief, mental illness, toxic relationships, etc.
And then I looked back at my daughter, now joined by my 12 year old son. I thought about the first Christmas and the family at the center of that story, a newborn baby, mother and father, separated from their own community, but joined by a choir of angels, shepherds, wise men, who gathered to bring gifts and community when they might have otherwise felt even more alone and overwhelmed.
I hope you have a wonderful holiday season, and if you, like me, are fortunate enough to be with family, I hope you’ll be a blessing to others, particularly those that may most need the blessings of community in this season. (And, I hope you’ll work, all year around, to bring families back together and address the conditions that lead to so much suffering in families across the nation and the world. But, for today, if we could just bless one another, in spite of our differences, that would be a great start.)