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LIGHTNING EDITORIAL: Libby's Christmas list tells the story

Here is a Christmas list.


Libby made it.
She's 11.
It is called "Libby's 2013 Christmas List."
1. Be safe from him.
2. A place of our own (I really want near my friend or FAR AWAY)
3. To sleep and not be scared anymore.
4. Friends.
5. Winter clothes and shoes and a coat.
6. Lotion, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and deodorant.
7. Gym membership
8. Shorts and tee PJ set.
9. iPad for school (I know it's too much, but I thought I'd ask.
10. Gift cards to order books and iTunes.
11. Self defense class.
12. A job (so we can have money for food and gas)
13. To see Mom smile (and not pretend for me)
14. For Jesus to come so we don't have any more worry or tears.
Thank you!
Libby came with her mom to Mainstay, the shelter for abused women and their children. That is where Libby's list came from. Mother and daughter are doing better now, Mainstay director Tanya Blackford says.
We noticed something about Libby's Christmas list. We noticed what was not on it. Nothing fun. No toys. Something a kid might do that has free time, a loving family, a safe place for imagining, for playing with dolls or even video games.
Most 11-year-old girls would want sparkly clothes, an American Girl doll, a soccer ball.
Libby wants to survive. She wants a self-defense class. A job. Warm clothes. She wants to feel safe. She wants her mom to feel safe. She knows her mom does not feel safe now. Her mom does what moms do. She reassures Libby that everything is OK. Libby sees through it. (See 13.)
Circumstances have made Libby many years older than her chronological age. Violence and the threat of violence have triggered her survival and defense instincts. "The child becomes parentified," Blackford told us.
Libby's letter blew up Mainstay's Christmas fund drive, the one they had planned for months. Ten thousand words describing the Mainstay mission could not top Libby's list. So they discarded what they planned and sent out Libby's list.
It's a good list at Christmas. It is a list that reminds us how blessed we are and how the true meaning of Christmas is about helping the Libbys of the world.
Thank you, Libby, for making that list. It gave your town the gift of seeing what is true and what is important. Over time, your Christmas list may help hundreds of little girls and little boys like you.


Read the annotated Libby's list.