I remember when I was a new mommy I was so unprepared for the strong protective feeling I would have taking over my body. There swaddled in his crib was baby Nicholas. I would get out of bed over and over between feedings just to be sure he was breathing. I vowed to protect him forever to the best of my ability.
I did the same with Ben when he was a newborn, although I knew he was OK. I was no longer a novice.
Every night, I watch them still-- but only for a couple moments to kiss them both once more before I head to bed. I always adjust their covers and then I tell them how very much I love them and always tell them something silly. Usually I whisper in their ears and say "Tomorrow, I am going to give you 37 kisses." That number changes as I get older. I like to tuck them in once more and just know all is well before bed.
Today, I did as I do every weekday morning. I hug them both, make sure they have what they need, and then we take our super quick walk over to school. We laugh and chat and then I leave them in a place I know they enjoy--a safe place where they are nurtured and can learn and grow-- school.
After I leave them off, I go about my routine of grabbing coffee and then I get busy working, usually on my laptop. And I know that when the school day is done, Ben will run out to greet me with a big, relatively toothless grin before Nick slowly walks out with his backpack and trombone.
So many of us have these normal days, don't we? The parents of 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut today wished their precious children a happy day at school and most likely said, "I love you! I'll see you after school!"
And for those parents, those routine words on a Friday morning would be the last they spoke to their children. The last time they walked them or drove them to school...the last time they waited with them for the bus.
Since I do social media as part of my job, I was on Facebook this morning when my friend in Connecticut posted about a school shooting. As I watched the story unfold and evolve from the initial, sad report of 2 people dead to what we would all discover was a horrific, unimagineable massacre of mostly children, we are all sitting here wondering how the hell this happened. Again. In a nice safe neighborhood...
I could go on and on about how easy it is for people to get a hold of guns here...or about how too many people turn a blind eye to those with mental health problems which makes it so people aren't getting the help they need. I could address the crackpots who say, "everything happens for a reason."
I will not. Right now there aren't words for me to say. There is no reason. All I have are these raw feelings--feelings of horror and sadness.
We have no answers. What we are left with is this overwhelming gratitude for having children who are snoring softly in their beds right now. Safe. Sound. Protected. Innocent. As children should be.
And we are left asking how and why and what now? We will watch the story continue to unfold over the coming days and wonder why this monster did what he did and what happened to him as a child to somehow turn him into this person who was capable of such a heinous crime.
There are no acceptable answers. There are none. The harsh reality is that there are parents who will never hear their children laugh again. Or feel sloppy kisses. Or feel the warmth of their child's hug, which has to be the greatest feeling on earth.
I know I am not the only one with the this feeling in my heart---the "what if that had been my child?" I just came back downstairs a few minutes ago from watching my boys sleep. They only went to bed at 9 o'clock, but I really don't care. I will be back with them in a bit. First back to Nick's room, then to Ben's. I will kneel on the floor with more falling tears and watch them sleep. There are no words. None at all. These beautiful innocent children and school personnel were taken away and there are no just no words...