|Photo from Newton Patch
Last week was mostly a normal week. Until Friday. The senseless shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT brought the entire country to it’s knees, and I’m having a hard time seeing the beginning of the week through the fog of my sadness.
I have a kindergartner. He was at school when I heard about what happened, and my first instinct was to go get him. I wanted my boy in my arms. I wanted to look at him, to kiss him, to touch him and make sure he was still whole. I didn’t though. He had a half day because of parent/teacher conferences, and was headed home soon. I waited with a tight chest and a heavy heart.
I couldn’t help but think of the last sentences of my post from that morning. I was talking about how my kids are the best and the worst, and I ended it with “There is more emotional seesawing than a high school romance. At least this relationship will last till prom.” We assume our children will outlive us. We assume we will see them grow into adults and maybe have children of their own. It shakes our sensibilities to be reminded in such a jarring way that this is not a given.
We were saying our bedtime prayers on Friday night, and during the portion L has coined “the please and thank yous” (Please God, help me be nice to my brother. Thank you for my books.), I added a prayer for the people of Newtown. I don’t want my kids to know what happened, but I believe children’s prayers are powerful, and I wanted Newtown to have my kids’ super prayers. G asked me, “What’s Newtown?” “A town that is sad,” I explained. “A town that needs our prayers and needs God’s help.” “Dear God,” G began, “help that town not to be sad. Also, when is it going to be Christmas?”
That innocent plea for Christmas brought me back. We feel changed by the heartbreak of Sandy Hook, but most of our children are unaware in the shift. They don’t know that there are awful things that happen in the world. Terrible, senseless things that happen to good people. But they do know that there is so much goodness. Here’s the catch: We can’t be good just because we aren’t bad. Our responsibility to our children and our society is to be kind, compassionate, and charitable. To celebrate each other, to help those in need, and to honor all humanity.
I will continue to laugh at myself and my kids. I may even laugh at you if you are being ridiculous. I will definitely be laughing at stuff like this:
|I asked L to refill the toilet paper. “I couldn’t find a short one.”
Because laughing makes me feel better. Laughter is healing, and we could all use a little of that. My hope is that the families affected by this tragedy are able to heal, and to find a way to smile again. To laugh.