Monday, December 17, 2012
I spent the weekend like many of you: parenting, keeping all news off to protect the children, then hearing and seeing snatches of it when the kids weren't around. I switched on NPR in the car alone after dropping Julia off at a birthday party; it was Saturday, and it was the first I'd heard that all the children killed were six and seven years old. To me, that means first grade. That means my youngest daughter. That was my baby and her class. Six and seven years old. The tears streamed down my face.
I made an extra batch of gingerbread cookies, because in the face of horror and grief you need normalcy and warmth and the smell of cinnamon and ginger, the comforting sight of homemade treats sliding out of the oven. It is the least I can do for my family, my household, my kidlets.
On Sunday we had friends over, a family date planned weeks ago, before all this happened. We ate Christmas cookies and drank hot chocolate and the children played with Legos and the adults talked, but we didn't talk about Newtown, not even when the children went upstairs. We didn't need to. What we needed was companionship with each other, fellow parents, old friends. Love, warmth, and the kind of caring that comes from spending time with others who share your experiences in parenting. We all knew. Our hearts are all broken.
So, really, there still are no words, although I know we all crave just the right ones. I, too, wish someone somewhere could say just the right thing to make everything better. Of course, there is no such thing.
My friend Kathy wrote yesterday that never will she ever send her kids onto the school bus in the morning with anything less than a hug, a kiss, and an "I love you"--no matter how cranky and trying the morning up to that point. Those are the words, I guess: Hug your babies more, no matter how cranky you may be feeling with them. Kiss them. Tell them "I love you" before they leave your sight--every time.
It is what we can do, and it is important.