They say Christmas is children’s time. It’s the sense of magic.
What do children really want for Christmas? A lot of the usual suspects are pure enchantment for them: the streets and shops lavishly adorned with dreamy fairy tale decorations, the most extravagant front-house Christmas lightings, the school Christmas parties, the Christmas dinner with all its indulgences, and obviously the (coveted) gifts that bring up real twinkle stars in their eyes!
Could it be though that surreptitiously all children might be after something more meaningful? They may be allured to the carefully and sometimes painfully choreographed family reunion show. Christmas is that precious time when children can suck up a good portion of family love and fill their emotional tank in the process.
Arthur and Star
At least 2 children will not enjoy the wonder of Christmas this year. 6-year-old little boy Arthur and 16-month-old baby girl Star were tortured for months at the hands of their parents, and ultimately losing their lives consequently. Arthur succumbed to a severe brain injury last year, and Star of damaged internal organs and internal bleeding. The stories plastered all over UK media outlets have shocked the nation, leaving people angrily wondering why the senseless horror?
Two different families, two different children, similar viciousness. Both children murdered by their parent’s partner, their parents watching on, during the pandemic, despite social workers being alerted in both cases.
Arthur was repeatedly tortured, starved, poisoned with salt (feels crazy even writing this) by his father’s girlfriend while his father would stand by, allowing the atrocity to happen under his eyes, and even recording the craziness as footages testify! The little boy is heard begging for food on an audio, and in a heart-breaking video of him allegedly on the day of his death, he can be seen getting up off the floor where he had been assigned to sleep, saying “no one loves me” …
That footage has to be one of the most harrowing things I’ve ever seen. Not for the faint of heart, utterly heart-crushing and distressing.
Star was reportedly a punching ball for her mother’s girlfriend – a boxer, filmed for jokes while falling in stairs or off furniture. At the time of her death, she was covered with bruises with a fractured skull and a fractured leg. The mother, just like Arthur’s father, enabled the gore to unfold, participating in the jokes and allowing her child’s slow death.
Arthur’s father and his girlfriend have landed respectively 21-year and 29-year jail sentences minimum, while Star’s killer – her mother’s girlfriend – got 25 years minimum, and her mother 8 years.
No perfect Parenting
Age, experience, personal backstory, education, financial circumstances among other factors do play a role on parenting; they can make the experience particularly difficult, to the point where parents can lose the plot literally. I’m really trying hard not to be judgmental here because I know it can be hard, however in the case of horror stories like these mentioned here above, I’m wondering why those parents kept those children, if not out of sheer evil? In both cases, grand-parents and friends were the ones to raise their concerns several times with social services, to no avail. Couldn’t those parents entrust their children with the grand-parents that clearly were invested in their grand-children’s welfare?
Parents / foster parents / carers have a tremendous power that they can wield fatally. Parenting is no easy feat, that I can testify. It gets quite tricky to keep in mind that being a parent doesn’t mean we own a child. Be it out of choice or not, once we become parents, we are landed with a responsibility much bigger than us. It’s quite scarily easy to forget that parenting is ultimately more a service to society than a personal perk. They don’t really belong to us. In the ideal scenario, for a few years we rear them to become beacons of light once they’re out in the world, out of our watch. Once they leave the nest, they belong to the world.
There’s no perfect parent, because perfection in humanity simply doesn’t exist as we all know. We can only strive to do our best, and the least – and most important – we can do is love and protect our offspring. They will ask for gifts this Christmas as usual, but underneath it all love is really what they crave (the most).
What’s the takeaway for me?
A reminder to be intentional with my care in my own parental journey…a reminder that it takes a village to raise a child…a reminder that loving a child is a beautiful thing and a privilege and a moral duty.
In the meantime, good sob sentiments aside, my son asked for a Christmas gift that has cost me an arm…