Hug your child

To the editor:

I started this letter a year ago, after the Newtown school shootings. We still do not know why more than 20 people, mostly children under the age of 10, were so viciously murdered in an elementary school. I sat crying, for hours, watching CNN. They showed parents reuniting with sobbing children, parents that would never see their children again. All I could think of was my 5-year-old daughter and her kindergarten teacher.

Now my daughter is 6, and her first grade teacher is so young that it makes me feel old. I think of her protecting her fledglings if such an incident happened here. There’s no doubt in my mind that she should. So today, I pass on the letter that I should have submitted a year ago. The Sandy Hook Elementary School building may have been demolished, but the realities have not changed.

To all of the members of our community: Stop! Stop right now! Put down your cellphone, and shut it off. Turn off the TV, the radio, the video games. Turn it all off, and hug your children. Look your daughters and your sons straight in the eye, and tell them how much you love them. Tell them that they are more important to you than anything in this entire world. Hug them, and really squeeze them, and most importantly, don’t let them go.

This time of year, we run around like chickens with our heads cut off. Frantically we search for the perfect toy or the new video game. We dress up our families for the perfect Christmas photo. We right form letters – “Johnny won the big game, and Dad got a promotion …” – to put into our Christmas cards with that perfect Christmas photo. We run ourselves ragged, and for what? Toys that will be played with for awhile until tossed aside for something else, cards that will end up in the trash, bills and 5 pounds of weight gain to show for the stress of it all.

So please, all community members, stop and hug the ones you love, especially your children – not “in a minute” and not “later.” Hug them and tell them how much you love them RIGHT NOW. We can text and shop and run around later. There are too many families in Connecticut coming up on a second Christmas without their little ones … another year without those hugs.

Merry Christmas,

Tori N. Thurston

Saranac Lake