We threw a huge Christmas party on Saturday night. Twinkly lights, bumpin’ music, gallons of gin fizz punch. Almost every part of my life—and my roommates’ lives—was represented in the bright people who streamed through our doors in their Christmas fanciest. I was surrounded by friends; my boyfriend won my heart a hundred times over all weekend; the party was a smash.
And yet, the very happiest moment of the whole shiny shebang for me was holding my friends’ six week old baby, Maverick. After Friday morning, this felt righter than anything.
I stood on the porch in a black sequin dress and four inch heels, cradling a baby in my arms like there weren’t a roomful of sweaty, sparkly people dancing to Ke$ha behind me. I cradled him like he was mine. I could feel his parents watching me hold him. I could feel my boyfriend watching me hold him. But then we locked eyes, Maverick and me, and everything else was background. The porch twinkle lights caught Maverick’s gaze. He turned his face up to the glow, folding and unfolding his tiny fingers in the absentminded way of new babies. I was transfixed. Immensely thankful. I felt immensely thankful to be holding him, then.
I’ve seen many, many words on the internet about the tragedy in Newtown since Friday. The shock and horror have rung so deeply through my soul that I haven’t had any words—and to be truthful—I have felt wild anger at the sheer inadequacy or flippancy of the words I have seen. I know we are all trying to do our best. I know we are all trying to process, if such a thing is possible.
I can’t say anything. There is nothing to say.
I recognize that the razor-sharp rage rising when I saw meaningless, meaningless tweets from brands and bloggers over the weekend (“Oooooh! Holiday nightcap recipe on the blog!” “Ugh, so glad it’s finally Friday.” Etc etc etc.) was irrational. I recognize that the entire world cannot halt, even if it feels it should. Life is for the living, they say. It is. There is no way around it. It demands to be lived. No matter how many tears we (I) cried on Friday, I still had to go home, muddle through dinner, grocery shop, bake appetizers for my Christmas party, lock my doors, brush my teeth, wash my face. You did too.
When I opened my eyes at seven am on Saturday morning, my very first thought was for the mothers of Newtown. When I opened them again twenty minutes later, my very first move was for my phone, to read through the latest updates. Answers, answers, answers, there aren’t any. I will admit—going forward with the Christmas party felt sad and wrong. Maybe if it were just me, I would have cancelled. But canceling a party that had been planned almost since last Christmas felt wrong, too.
So we lived on because life says we must. Giggled when a country Christmas tree farmer tried to steal a kiss from me in exchange for a wee bunch of mistletoe. Ooohhed when the mantel was lit for the first time. Stomped around in heels line dance style when someone DJed The Proclaimers. In the midst of all this, Allie and Tyler showed up to the party with their new son, Maverick, decked out in a chambray button-up. Some time later, I abandoned my party host duties and, finally, I danced. I looked over to see Allie and Tyler dancing too, grooving with their baby in her arms to some stupid, meaningless, dancy Chris Brown song. If I hadn’t already been smiling, I would have cried at the sight of that brave, cool little family.
There is a place for the trivial, the normal, the happy humdrum of daily life—even in great sadness. There is a place for Chris Brown songs and babies in chambray and bittersweet dancing.
So I broke my silence last night with a tweet about Chinese takeout with Jivan. Tiny. Trivial. But I hope that somehow, maybe, you saw what I didn’t say: that on a rainy Sunday night after one of the saddest weekend’s in our nation’s recent history, what I finally found words for was love.