This post is for me, but if you can glean any solace, validation, or shared sentiment from it, then that is why I post this publicly instead of in my personal journal. Today’s elementary school shooting in Connecticut struck a note so powerful in me that it overwhelmed me.
At first, in the morning, I thought I’d be okay after the initial cry. But when I returned from errands and found out the death and injury numbers – the WHO that was in those numbers, and went on Twitter and Facebook and watched the important and totally unimportant details move up my screen – and thought it was only the details that affected me – and then watched the rants about gun control – both for and against and thought how much I did not give a fuck about that issue today – maybe tomorrow, because I hate guns and hate the whole argument, but I have no answers except that today I just cannot stop crying because goddamnit this all happened at an elementary school and children are dead and adults who dedicated themselves to serving children are dead and even though no one deserves to experience this kind of situation whether it be in a mall, place of worship, place of business, university, or high school, or wherever, I just cannot get past that these are CHILDREN in that most precious, innocent, naïve way and my world is shattered that our violence in this nation has crossed that particular threshold.
I have felt awful for all of the shooting disasters, but do not consider myself callous for not having cried for them, but today I could not stop. My kids had the day off – I have no idea how I would have coped had they been in school. I tried to make myself busy and debated how or when I’d casually share the news with my kids because it should come from their parents and not anyone else, and our school principals sent out tips for helping our kids, and one of those tips was that we should offer physical contact for them as often as they needed it, but what does it mean when I’m the one that needs a hug? For that is what happened as I asked them to comfort me, and as my 6-year old played upstairs blissfully unaware, my 13-year old and 10-year old put their arms around me, and I bawled into their hair, and I spilled out the news, and my 13 year old comforted me with the words of I’m sorry. I’m sorry you are feeling so sad and overwhelmed.
Then I met up with my husband and I knew he might want to talk about it all, but I just couldn’t. I’d apologize and simply tell him I was about to fall from the precipice yet again.
And the thing is I’m not even thinking about if it were my kids.
Until I am.
Because I have a six year old in kindergarten. But I will not allow myself to drop into that abyss that motherhood creates for me all too often on a daily basis. I have long trained myself not to do this.
So instead my heart sobs for the kids and families that are in what is now their awful reality and for childhood as a whole. My reality is that my kids are home, safe, and taking care of me just as much as I am taking care of them. I thank all the gods, spirits, and guardian angels for that.
People will say go hug your babies right now. They are not wrong.
But I will also tell you to let your babies hug you.