I first read the news on Facebook. I was doing my morning email/Facebook scan and read someone's post that mentioned an elementary school shooting in Newtown.
"That can't be true." I thought. It took a Safari search to confirm that every parent's nightmare was a reality in a small town in Connecticut. My heart sank as I read and watched the news unfold that morning. Tears were uncontrollable. It was too much. Unimaginable senselessness. My heart ached as I thought of the children, parents, teachers, and loved ones of the victims. I had to detach myself from the news for a while, so I turned off the electronics, and snuggled my children; my safe, warm, soft, innocent, perfect, happy children.
I remembered the day before; I sat a glass of almond milk in front of Hunter and told him to be careful not to spill it. A few minutes later, down went the milk with a splash as Hunter's arm accidentally bumped it. I overreacted, rolled my eyes, and lectured my three-year-old on being more careful. He repeated, "I'm sorry mom" over and over again. As that moment popped into my head, I felt the tears come again and along with them shame as I realized how every parent who lost a child would gladly deal with a thousand cups of spilled milk if it meant they could hold their child again. I vowed to be more patient with my children -- to not cry over spilled milk, permanent markered walls, Cheetos hand prints on their clothes, noisy chatter when I'm working, mattress-jumping at bed time, and any other ridiculous thing that so easily gets under my skin.
The events that happened on Friday were a reminder to me at how precious the lives I've been blessed with to nurture, protect, teach, and love are. I need to treat them as such. I try, but sometimes I loose sight, and it shouldn't take a national tragedy to get my perspectives back in order.
I kept asking my children on Friday if they knew I loved them. Tralee kept saying, "Yes, mom you tell me all the time!" I hugged her close and asked, "But do you feel it? Can you feel how much I love you?" I wanted her to know that my love has no bounds, no limits, no expiration date. I did the same with Hunter. I wanted them both to know that no matter what happens in life, if I get upset over trivial things, or if a more profound tragedy takes place that my love can still reach them. I was trying to think how the parents in Newtown might be. I hope and pray all of the hearts and minds of those affected by this tragedy can find peace in the darkness, and can feel the love being sent their way from around the world. Things this tragic just shouldn't happen.
And yet. . .
As I sat in our studio apartment, arms around each child, feeling the Hawaiian breeze kiss our faces the juxtaposition of our little place in paradise and the chilling reality in Connecticut wasn't lost on me. And I never want to forget how lucky I am. Not because of what I have or where we are, but because of who I get to tuck in tonight. I've been giving my babes extra hugs and kisses, extra time to find their shoes, extra questions answered, and games played together because now more then ever before I know how fleeting my time is with them.
After I turned off the news, only checking my phone for updates a few times later, the children and I were able to enjoy some time at the beach and walking the city streets together. As I held hands, hugged, kissed, talked with, and spent the day with little ones, Connecticut wasn't far from my thoughts, and I don't think it will be for a long time.