I left the house this morning with a few things to do.
We were originally supposed to take the kids out this morning. It's Lola's birthday today and I was planning on attempting a trip to the nail salon so she could get her first pedicure. And a stop a Starbucks for a strawberry milkshake.
But Christian caught a little bug and it was really cold and rainy today. So we scrapped the plan, I went out by myself, and the kids stayed home with Nana, Christian resting and Lola enmeshed in her new Candyland game.
During my outing I heard about the horrible school shooting in Connecticut. Little kids. Just gone. At that very moment I just wanted to be with my kids.
I left the house this morning with a few things to do. I wanted to get Lola a cake for her birthday because I firmly believe everyone should have cake on their real birthday.
I returned with tiny birthday cupcakes, big hugs, and promises of homeschool.
Only half kidding about that. Okay, about 70/30 in favor of homeschooling.
I know what it's like to have a very normal, conventional life one minute, and then a nearly unrecognizable life the next. Not only was the rugged ripped out from under us, but the floor beneath the rug had caved in, leaving us weak and vulnerable. Literally bringing us to our knees. There were whispers and facebook posts advising everyone to hug your babies tight tonight! And then those who whispered and posted got to return to normal life and we didn't.
Here we are, comfortable in our normal. But with the perspective of being on the other side of normal, it goes beyond simply hugging my babies tight. Today I carefully watched Lola ride a merry go round. I watched her face light up and I watched her wave to her daddy and brother every time she passed. I watched her absolutely love it. I watched her as if it were in slow motion. And I thought about those families who won't have that ever again.
I thought about how other people must think I have it so hard with Christian. He doesn't say, "I love you, Mommy." He doesn't throw his arms around me. But he does snuggle, and he does reach out, and calm when I hold him. That's how he tells me he loves me. He tells me every day in his own way. I have that. It's not gone. It's here and it's real, breathing softly next to me. Today it's not hard. Today I'm lucky.
My teenager sent me a text that there was a rainbow outside today. I asked him if he meant to send that to me or a girlfriend of his. He said he sent it to me because he knows I like rainbows. I'm still skeptical. But it was a gift.
I think about these kids and these families and, to be honest, I can't fully process it. We've had a challenging week, but all of the sudden, with healthy children safe and sound, texting me about rainbows, looking at me when I talk to them, choosing a rooster to ride on the merry go round, those challenges just don't seem very challenging anymore.
We are so lucky. Life is so very temporary, and so very precious. It's not just a tagline. Things can change from one second to the next.
God bless those families. And, yes, hug those babies.
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