Please forgive the self-focused, I-ness of this post. I’m still processing, and I have to get it out. I had no words for my grief all day, but it poured out when I sat down here…
The suggestion to “hold your kids a little closer tonight” has never been one that really hits home with me. I’ve heard it dozens of times. When a child is diagnosed with – or lost to – cancer. When there’s an accident. A violent act. I’ve always thought, “Yes, I appreciate my healthy kiddos,” and I’ve kissed them and hugged them and gone on my way. I’ve worked hard, especially as they’ve gotten older and I’ve begun to recognize how fast this childhood business goes from a parent’s point of view, to remember [almost] every day how lucky we are, so the suggestion of a little bit of “extra” love never much affected me.
Twelve-and-a-half years I’ve been doing this mothering thing, and today it hit home.
When the news came out of Connecticut this morning, the internal keening began. My soul wailed. My stomach turned inside out. My chest hurt. And I had to physically press my legs into the ground in front of the sofa to stop myself from jumping up to race to the elementary school and envelop the office staff, principal, Kalen’s lovely teacher, and all the sweet nine-and-ten-year-old babies in his class in hugs and tears.
I spent the day doing – visiting the chiropractor, grocery shopping – in between sobs and gasps. I’m sorry to say I’d grown painfully accustomed to shootings in our country. In temples, malls, even schools. I remember the victims, I question what could have been done to make the gunmen feel less unloved, less hopeless…and I move on.
I suppose we’ll all move on this time, too, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it now. It’s the gut-wrenching, nauseating, heart-crushing kind of emotional pain that stops a person in her tracks.
Right now, I’m waiting for Jason to arrive home from work, and after dinner, we’ll sit down and talk about this with the boys. For now, they’re blissfully ignorant, laughing and scheming to beat a level on Lego Lord of the Rings. I don’t want to take that away from them, but if I don’t, someone else – the media, a classmate, an adult having a conversation near them in public – will, and that’s not okay.
So, yes, hug your babies tonight, and say a little prayer of comfort for those who cannot, and for the families of the teachers and staff in that lovely little Connecticut town, too. And for yourself, too.