Friday, December 14, 2012

My Greatest Fear

Ruanita called me at work to tell me the news. Another shooting. This time, young children were the victims.

I immediately felt ill. I wanted to scream. I wanted to throw up. I reacted not as a stranger hundreds of miles away from Newtown, Connecticut, but as a parent. As a mother. As a woman with children the exact same age as the children who were gunned down today. Children who sat in classrooms at 9:35 this morning—just like the classrooms in Connecticut. Children who were likely reading and writing and laughing and playing just like the children in Newtown. Children who kissed their mommies goodbye this morning. Children who donned their sock caps and winter coats and walked out into the world. A world their parents can only pray will keep them safe until they come home again.

My children did come home from school today. For that I am eternally grateful. But I can’t seem to shake this story from my mind. I am sick for the parents whose children did not make it home today. I say that I can’t imagine grief like that. But I can imagine it. I can imagine my children being taken from me. I can imagine empty bedrooms where little ones once snored. I can imagine how very silent a house would seem when emptied of the hustle and bustle of rowdy kids. I can imagine toys that are not played with and clothes that are not worn. I can imagine closets full of Christmas presents that Santa will never deliver. As parents, I think we can all imagine it. And we have imagined it. It is our greatest fear. The terror that keeps us awake at night.

Tonight, I am going to hold my babies. When Nicholas wants me to read him the same story again and again and “one more time,” I am going to recite it happily. I am going to color with my daughter. If she wants to use heinous forbidden glitter in my house, so be it. I am going to listen to Lucas ramble on about quasars and dwarf stars and black holes. If anyone wants to sit in my lap tonight, they are perfectly welcome. I don’t care that they are all skinny arms and legs that poke and prod and otherwise torture me. And when bedtime rolls around, I am going to break that most sacred of parenting laws and take all three of my kids upstairs with me to sleep in my bedroom tonight. I have a feeling I will want to be close to them.

I obviously can’t protect them from all the ugliness in the world—a fact parents in Newtown are painfully aware of this afternoon. I can, however, love the hell out of them while they are here.

And I have every intention of doing just that.


Madgew said...

Beautifully said. I shared something on fb that a friend shared with me about what to tell you kids if they ask. So far they have no idea. They were just here for an early Hanukkah as they have activities tonight.

Post a Comment