Friday, December 14, 2012

Counting my Blessings

I probably shouldn't be blogging right now. I should probably wait until tomorrow when I'm less emotional, less distraught over the events of the day, when there is less of an ache in my heart, but I'm not sure I'll feel any different tomorrow or the next day. So, I might as well try to get my feelings out, and I apologize to all of you if this ends up being a rambling mess of snot and keystrokes...

Today is a day I will never forget. I have lived through 9/11, a ten-year war that my husband fought in, and countless other acts of violence both in the U.S. and abroad, but today is still a day I will never forget. Today, twenty children were murdered along with six teachers by a man with so much anger in his heart he couldn't contain it. It happened at an elementary school at 9:30 this morning, while I was teaching my own set of students just a few miles away. We were talking about All Quiet on the Western Front, and how the war forces Paul to lose his innocence before he is ready. At that moment eighteen children lost their lives, and the rest of the children in that school, the ones hearing the gunshots and the screams, they lost something else too. They lost that precious, fleeting time that allows you to believe the world is good and pure and that bad things don't happen to good people.

I've been sad about a lot of things today. I'm sad about all those families that were destroyed in an instant. I'm sad that one man has the power to end that much life. And I'm sad for all those children who will be afraid to go back to school, who won't want to go to bed tonight, who will ask what happened to their friends. And I feel sad for the parents who will have to figure out how to explain the unexplainable to a six-year-old. What do you say to your child when you can't understand it yourself?

Ever since I heard the news this morning, I've been dying to get to Ella, to hold her in my arms, and I thought about all the times she's driven me crazy in the morning and how we've argued over getting dressed or brushing her hair. I thought about all these little kids and how their parents never could have known that this was the last morning they'd ever put their children's coats on or pack their lunches, or send them off to school with an "I love you."

We all know that these moments with our children are precious, but we are human and the rigors of our daily lives can get in the way of remembering. We cannot spend every moment appreciating our lives, but then, something like this happens. A parent's worst nightmare happens to someone else, and it serves as a wake-up call to you, and you remember that precious, delicate thing in the other room, that thing that drives you crazy, but also turns the very wheels that make your heart work.

I know this is all so overly sentimental, and if a student handed this in as an essay, that's just what I'd tell her, but that doesn't matter today. Today I love my little girl in all the most cliche ways. Today I am a mother more than anything else. Today I am counting my blessings like never before. Today my words are not original, but I feel them more truly than ever.

All my thoughts and prayers are with the families suffering tonight. May you find solace in eachother's arms and know that this corner of the world is dreaming of you.

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