As most of the country has been doing I’ve been watching the news non-stop since word of the Newtown, Conn., shootings spread last Friday. I’m not sure if it’s healthy for my emotional stability, but I can’t stop myself.
As a parent, I can’t help but put myself in these parents’ shoes. A mass shooting in an elementary school is unfathomable. Yet, these moments aren’t meant to be understood. This is the dark part of life.
This is not something we’re trained in as parents. How do we appropriately convey to our children what has happened?
This is something that could happen anywhere. We need to discuss it.
Questions are flying across the airwaves about why and how, but does it matter TODAY? A mere one week after the tragic school shooting, we need to face the fact of what has occurred and make sure our own little ones are handling it okay. Quite frankly, I don’t know if I’m handling it okay.
I’m on edge all the time.
A mother was singing “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer” to her toddler as she walked down the aisle in Walmart. I started to cry, right there. I thought about the parents who will never get to sing to their children again.
I find I’m constantly looking at my little boys’ faces. I’m stroking their soft hair. When I cover them at night, I can’t stop thinking about how parents in Connecticut have one less baby to tuck in.
What amazes me is the strength of some of these families to compose themselves enough to speak on camera. Through tears, they want to convey the story of their beloved child’s short life.
I wonder if I could do the same. I hope and pray I never have to.
Here I sit, watching the news, listening to these stories, not knowing a single one of these people. Yet I weep every time. Friends are sharing tears in person and on Facebook. Sharing stories and photos of children we never knew, nor will we.
They mention a child’s name and how she loved horses. A little boy who just accomplished his first mini-triathlon. A sweet young girl who was learning Portuguese from her dad. I see beautiful faces, smiles flashing across the screen … such joy and innocence.
How can one not shed tears at the concept of this unnecessary loss of life?
But now it’s my job to gather myself together and tenderly support my children and their perception of what’s happening. My youngest son, who is five, is so close in age to those who lost their lives. It hits too close to home for me.
Perhaps my intense affection over the past few days is making things worse. Since Friday, he’s been afraid to go to bed. He wants me to sleep with him. When I think he’s asleep, I realize an hour later that he’s gotten up and has all of his lights on. He wakes in the night, having bad dreams. No doubt my emotions have carried through.
No matter how far removed we may think we are from this tragedy, we are all being affected. I will never again be able to sing “Silent Night” without thinking of all those beautiful angels who, forever, will sleep in heavenly peace.