I watched my children’s eyes, filled with wonder –
But saw the the plastic cups and plates in bins.
I marvelled at the sparkling lights and shows –
But thought about the electricity.
I laughed alongside them on the rides –
But wished to hear the same laughs in nature.
I waved at the characters in costume –
But struggled to answer,
‘Is that a person dressed up?’
I steered through the crowds of people, wishing –
I was in a place of large, open spaces.
I gawped with them at all the toys and clothes –
But wanted to wear blinkers, like a horse.
I took photos of so many Christmas trees –
But would have gained immeasurably more –
Taking photos of trees in the wilderness.
I went for my children – they loved it – but –
I struggled with what this was teaching them.
In a time when so many in the world –
Live with so little, hoping for peace –
I felt troubled.
I thought –
Let the memories be happy and thankful –
Let the ‘magic’ be more than a few days –
Let not the excess merchandise taint them –
Let them see past the lights and laughter –
Let them understand happiness –
In its purity.
A happy that is not bought –
But can be found –
in The Everyday.
After I wrote this poem, I looked over the photographs and video clips, seeing the magic, happiness and laughter in my children’s eyes. And yet, still, my other thoughts still remained in the background. Was it worth it? My children would say, ‘Yes!’ and perhaps, with their innocence, they are right. My mind is so jaded with the cruelty in this world, that they are too young to yet understand and definitely not emotionally strong enough to cope with (are we ever emotionally strong enough?). What would I have rather done? I could list one hundred things – camping, visiting village children in a country where they have so little – but make their own happiness, appreciating every moment of life as a blessing – knowing all too keenly how quickly life can be taken. But they did love the magic of it all, the surreal world of what is possible with imagination and creativity. It will be interesting to hear their own recollections in years to come.
Here’s the video clips of those happy faces –