when the sound of bombing beats in our hearts

qdfyp8ktBana Alabeb is a 7 year old Syrian girl living in East Aleppo. She and her mother Fatemah joined Twitter in September 2016. Since, they humanized life as a child living through the horror inside Aleppo. I have a 7 year old. I see the sparkle in his eyes when he is happy and the sadness that takes over his little soul when he is troubled. In his world, his worries may never get bigger than the ones he has to face today. In Bana’s world, tomorrow may never come. Her mother uses the platform as a political tool begging world leaders to help civilians. She tweets as her country and her family waits for death.

My family happens to celebrate Christmas. As the holidays approach, children will receive presents. A few years ago, I became disgusted by the amount of material items my offsprings received from us and loving family members. We narrowed the list to 4 things: something to read; something to wear; something I want; something I need. While writing their letters to Santa, each year, they are unable to think of something they need. My children, and I think a lot of the children in the city in which we live, although not ALL and that is very important to remember, go without a single NEED throughout the year. A shoe falls apart, we are able to go out and buy new ones. A mitten gets lost, we are able to purchase a new pair. Sometimes without even looking for the lost item. I have to say they are somewhat aware of that privilege. But this year, in particular, this fact makes me want to throw up.

I have an inner fire burning so hot with anger. Anger about the hate and divisiveness which has been prevalent especially in the last year. Anger about the white privilege we see and experience much too often. Last night, in Southern Ontario, the sky was covered in light fluffy Christmas snow. I used to LOVE the sound, or lack, of falling snow. It is so quiet and so peaceful. After my children went to bed and before the Barfing Explosion of 2016 occurred, I put on my husband’s oversized boots and stood outside just to listen. I tried but couldn’t hear my usually endearing and silent falling snow. All I heard the bombingd and screaming children across the world. Some of whom have NEVER in their entire little short lives known or heard silence and peace.

Global News put out a piece: How does Toronto compare to Aleppo. It is definitely worth watching. Also quite chilling as the reporter eventually walks off screen… as there would be nothing left.

Somehow, God decided that I was to be born here. Meet this great half Dutch half Filipino man and raised 3 multi racial children in a safe, socially and economically sound country. They did not get to choose this. Neither did Bana and her family. The predicament they are in is tragic. If they survive, the psychological damage with which these children will have to live is insurmountable without great intervention, which I doubt they will ever get.

In ten, twenty or thirty years, terrorism will most likely still be alive in the world. Will we still ask ourselves how it happened? Will we still blame others? The hell Syrian children are living through is in no way, shape or form caused by their choices or their behaviour. But it is shaping the adults they will one day become. We will not be able to blame them for that.

The year 2016 has been one of the most difficult year for me, psychologically and emotionally. I will welcome 2017 as a fresh start but the fire is more alive than ever. In the Silent Night, if you can hear the bombing across the world, join me in fighting the War on War not so much the War on Christmas.

Much love and some peace this holiday season.

Maman M.



Holiday Love

I have a huge weakness. I am a nut for holidays. If I didn’t love Jesus as much, I would probably celebrate Diwali and Passover. I have fond childhood memories of Christmas and Easter as well as the less important ones such as Halloween and Valentine’s Day! My mom and grandma really went all out with decorations. I remember, however, recognizing my uncle as Santa at a very early age. I stopped believing then but I think I have started again now that I have children.

When I moved away from home, in May 2000, I was 18 and thought the world was my oyster! I was invincible. I decided not to make the trek home that Christmas. I was a big girl, so I thought, and had not left my parents’ home in the best of terms. I was working for Air Canada at the time. Airlines operate, even on Christmas day. I picked up a shift for a colleague with a young family as I really didn’t have any plans. That day, a couple rushed off an airplane arriving from Quebec City with a 2 month-old baby. He had stopped breathing as his mother nursed him during the descent. Over the PA system, they were paging a doctor. I was working a flight to the US when a man in the lounge approached me, announced he was a doctor and we should go. We got in a golf cart and illegally travelled through to the domestic side. When we arrived, the man jumped off and quickly ran to the lifeless baby laying on the airport chairs. I will always remember the color of that baby. The ambulance arrived shortly after and I took the man back to his flight. The sweet little boy didn’t make it. I can’t imagine what Christmas must be like for those orphan parents. I cried all the way home that night. I don’t know if it was the idea of a dead baby on Christmas day or that I was alone for Christmas.

I decided to go home the following years. It wasn’t great, but it was better than the alternative.

A few years later, I met the love of my life and holidays have been great since! All of them! He has a huge, crazy family who thrive on tardiness and chaos! It is great.

On New Year’s eve 2007, I sat down for dinner at my in laws, as big as a house. As I leaned back in my chair, I felt a pop and it was the beginning of my love for holidays, on steroids! My water had broken and our beautiful, crazy family wished us well at the door as we made our way to the hospital to have our first miracle.

Today, this little miracle is almost 5 years old. He has a miraculous little brother and a little sister expected in February. His love for the holidays, with my encouragement, is so thrilling, I have not found the words to express it. One of our many tradition is Elfie, the Elf on the Shelf. He appeared last year and was well received but not exactly comprehended. This year, Téo had been asking for a few weeks now, when Elfie was going to arrive at our house. Well, this morning, I got my very pregnant self some motivation and went to the back of our crawl space to fetch Elfie. I positioned him in the kitchen for perfect visibility. As I said, I cannot put in to words the expression on my son’s face or the excitement he was feeling. He was not smiling, but shaking. He immediately wanted to call his Papa, which we did, and told him Elfie had arrived. As he ate his breakfast, he talked to Elfie, asking if he spoke French, if he had breakfast or wanted some Cheerios. He was asking questions and explaining to his three year old brother that he had to be on his best behavior for Elfie!! This is serious business.

Sharing and making new traditions with my children is uber rewarding. I love to watch them marvel in the magic and anticipation. We bake a birthday cake for baby Jesus on Christmas eve’s eve. We get Christmas pj’s in our stocking every year. We go to church at 4pm and eat ham with aunty Allyson every Christmas eve. Christmas day is spent at Lola and Opa’s house. We eat non stop and it is exhausting but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Those are traditions I want them to remember. I pray that one day, they will expect these traditions for their families. I pray that they keep the magic in their little hearts and remember how much we loved experiencing it all though them.

Children are the best teachers. Grown ups get caught up in life and forget how small things are the most valuable. Christmas morning is as exciting for me as it is for my boys. I get excited to do their make up on Halloween or watching them hunt for eggs in the garden on Easter morning. They are the joys of my life. They make the big worries melt and give us a perfect view of childhood innocence, all over again.

I am so thankful for the gift of motherhood. Becoming a child again only by holding their little hearts.

I pray for many more Christmas mornings, Valentine’s day chocolate breakfast, Easter egg hunts, Thanksgiving turkey dinner, Halloween treats and baby Jesus’ birthday cakes. Many, many, many more.


Maman M.