Close to the Heart


I promised Kyan a picnic lunch at the park today.  I let him and Karis pick out lunchables and then went to Subway to pick up my own lunch.  As I was getting the kids out of the truck a man pulled into the parking lot and seemed to race to get into the place, as if he were trying his hardest to beat me into the store.  We reached the door at the same time and he hurried in, not bothering to show the least bit of courtesy to a woman with her hands full of kids.  I was already annoyed but when he got in line before me and ordered five sandwiches, my mood shifted from annoyed to plain out and out foul.  Who does that?  How about some Christmas spirit, asshole?

We eventually made it to the park.  The kids ran off to play, the lunchables they begged for all but forgotten.  I unwrapped my sandwich and pulled up the Facebook app on my phone.  The very first thing I read, the very thing I saw, was about the shooting in Connecticut.  Tears instantly filled my eyes and perspective smacked me in the face.  While I was getting annoyed over some inconsiderate jerkwad at a sandwich shop, some other mom was losing her baby.  I just can't . . . there are no words.

Finding out this shooting took the lives of kindergarteners was just too much for me.  When the school shooting happened in Jonesboro, Arkansas, back in 1998 that was close to home.  I was still in school then -- and in school in Arkansas, at that.  This shooting, though, miles away and nowhere near close to home, hit close to heart.  These babies, precious babies, who senselessly lost their lives were born in 2006 and 2007.  They are the same age as my Jaybird, the little boy I dropped off at school this morning with a kiss and a smile and the reassurance that I would see him again in a few hours. 

There are presents under trees in Connecticut that will never be opened by the children they were intended for.  .  There are parents whose hearts have been broken, whose lives have been torn apart.  There are precious babies who are still living and breathing, whose parents will hug them tight tonight, but who will never be the same because of the horrific events they witnessed earlier today.  It's so unfair and unreal. 

When I picked up Jaidan from school this afternoon, I stood in a line with the other kindergarten moms and dads.  We're hundreds of miles away from the shooting but the atmosphere still had a somber feel.  It was as though everyone in that line realized it could have just as easily been Memphis, Tennessee, as Newtown, Connecticut.  One by one, we picked up our children and there were more hugs than usual.  I noticed one mom carrying her little boy to the car, as if she wanted him to be as close to her as possible.  I understood.  I felt the same.  I draped my arm over Jaidan and pulled him close to me and said a prayer of thanks that he was with me and safe and also that he was still young enough to not immediately shrug my arm off (maybe the fact that I brought him a Sonic strawberry limeade had a little something to do with that, though!)

I have never been the type of parent who wants to bubble wrap my children before sending them out in the world.  I want them to fall down and skin their kneeds.  I understand that they are going to get their feelings bruised from time to time.  The world can be a crazy place and they have to acclimate and learn to live in it.  But it hurts my heart to know that there are people out there who would kill kindergarteners.  It hurts my heart to know that I brought my children into a world where you can't even be 100% positive they are safe and free from danger when doing the date and weather during circle time with their teacher.  Every once in a wihle there are events that just smack us in the face with the reailty of the cruel world we live in.

This tragedy has hit so close to my heart.  My own kindergartener is sitting right beside me, watching Youtube videos on his tablet.  He's excited about the approaching holidays, a little worried that the reindeer are sick thanks to a story he read at school.  He's been writing "Mere Crismis" notes to people and came home today and proudly dispayed an ornament he made on our tree.  I can't wrap my mind around . . . I can't fathom . . . dropping him off at school one morning and then never seeing him again.  I've been giving all my babies a few more hugs than normal, and the 6-year-oldis getting even more than the others, and all the while feeling such an overwhelming sadness and grief for those Mama's and Daddy's in Connecticut.  who weren't able to pick their children up from school this afteroon.  God bless them.
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