So the apocalypse didn’t happen.

But– ten days ago– an unconscionable tragedy made me feel like the world was actually crumbling into decay. Now, ten days later, I’m getting off the phone with my four-year-old cousin. She’s talking my ear off about her three-page letter to Santa, telling me of the extra chocolate chips she helped bake into the cookies she’ll leave out for him. And I can’t tear my thoughts from the kids who will not have the chance to leave Santa cookies tonight. Who will never have the chance to graduate from bunny-ears to loop-de-loop shoelace tying. Or to unwrap their presents from Santa, still hidden in closets and under beds. Or to channel their inner artists and bring home some haphazardly fashioned, damn  beautiful gingerbread houses that were supposed to be the day’s project on December 14th. Your childhood, your adolescence, your lives, to be lived with vim and vigor and infinite possibility: cruelly cut away from existence. Today, I can’t get you out of my mind. Today, I’m sending stockings of prayers and gingerbread cookies up to you.