Monday, December 17, 2012

Reflect.


Everything that I begin to write about for this post sounds so ridiculous as I reflect back on the senseless and horrific tragedy that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut on Friday.  What a busy two weeks I have had.  How overwhelmed I am with Christmas shopping this year.  A fun little DIY Christmas craft post.  How could I possibly dwell on the meaningless irritations in my life when 20 INNOCENT CHILDREN.  FIRST GRADERS.  BABIES.  Were shot dead while they were in their classroom.
 
There are 20 moms that have had busy weeks just like mine who will never see their child again.  20 moms that will not be watching their child open gifts from Santa this year.  And there are 20 moms that will never ever be able to plop their baby down at the kitchen table for a fun craft to celebrate the holidays.  I can hardly write this without tears running down my face.
 
I wept for those poor mothers when I first saw the news coverage on Friday.  I had just gotten in from a slightly stressful shopping trip with all three kids, and I was tired.  I had seen all the facebook updates, but had not yet heard what had happened.   Then I saw the ticker across the bottom of the television screen.  I started to cry right away.  I was crying so hard that Grayson started to cry too.  And Brantley, with the amazingly nurturing soul that she seems to have, crawled up into my lap and started to stroke my hair.  She said, "Mommy, it'll be okay, don't worry.  It's okay Mommy, don't cry."  Of course, that made me cry harder, and I just cried, Grayson cried, and I held both my girls and rocked them on the sofa, and Brantley continued to comfort the both of us.  Sweet Bennett just slept calmly through all of the activity.  I watched the coverage all afternoon and sobbed through it all.  The mothers overjoyed to see their safe and unharmed children.  The staff members overcome with emotion being led out of the building.  The screaming sister of one of the teachers that became a fallen hero as she shielded her class from being killed.  My mind filled with rage.  With disbelief.  With terror.  With all-consuming sadness.  I listened to the political spin, the gun control issues, the mental health issues, the family values and religious issues.  All I could think about were the precious children that had just been brutally and gruesomely been murdered.  And the mothers that would be burying their babies.
 
And that they were just like me.
 
If this could happen to them, it could happen to me.
 
That thought alone is enough for me to start boarding up the windows and doors, start stockpiling canned foods and bottled water and start homeschooling my three children.  There is nothing in the world that I am more afraid of than losing the people who I love the most, particularly my children.  And the idea that they could be taken from me so quickly and without reason is particularly terrifying.  You can't live your life in fear, but I can't shake the feeling that I have to need to keep my children as close to me as I can. 
 
I brought both the girls into the bed with us Friday and Saturday nights, with Bennett in his pack and play a foot away from me.  I held my girls while I slept and prayed for the children who lost their lives, and prayed for the families that would have to go on living without them.  What an unbearable thought.  Though I know I can't live like this, and that this was such a random and isolated and extremely rare event, that almost makes it more possible.  But, like I already said, you can't live in fear, and I especially refuse to teach my children to be afraid in a world where I believe there is more good than there is evil.  Where there is more beauty than there is ugliness.  I want my children to see the good and the light instead of the bad and the darkness in our amazing world.
 
And so if there is any good that is to come from this devastating tragedy, perhaps people will reflect on their own lives, their families, their children, and tell those special people every single day that they love them.  It is so cliche, but tomorrow is promised to no one.  I am terrible about focusing on my to-do lists and thinking ahead without living in the moment.  Who cares if I have dishes in the sink when I have my sleeping baby in my arms?  After the events I watched unfold on Friday, I'll be holding my baby.  And when I'm trying to clean up the bedroom when Grayson brings over a book for me to read?  I'll be sitting down and reading that book.  Tragedies like these make you reflect on your own life and question what your priorities are.  I have thought over and over of my impatience with my kids at times, how I discipline them, and second-guessed all of the things I teach them, consciously and unconsciously.  And though that is just a part of being a parent, the terrible killings in Connecticut make me want to be a better parent, so in case (God-forbid) I am brought face to face with a similar tragedy, I know that I did the best I could, I was the best parent that we could be and that my child knew how I much I loved them. 
 
My babies are my heart.  My family is my world.  I pray for the families affected by the Sandy Hook Elementary Massacre.  I can't begin to imagine their pain and grief, especially this time of year, but I pray that they will find some sort of peace and will be able to continue on in their lives. 
 
God bless.
 
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