As I sit down to write tonight, I’m not even sure where to begin. I’m still reeling from the senseless tragedy that unfolded in Newtown, Connecticut, Friday morning. I cannot even comprehend the fear the victims experienced in their final moments or the pain in the hearts of those they left behind.
I spent much of Friday glued to the computer screen. I refused to turn on the television news because I did not want to burden my own young children down with the heaviness of the situation, but I surfed from news site to news site to keep abreast of developments. I guess in some way my former journalist’s mind hoped that getting answers to when, where, what, who, why, and how would somehow help me make sense of it all. But each round of news updates brought more questions than answers, and by nightfall, I finally realized that no report would ever make the tragedy make sense. Because it was senseless.
A broken man in a broken world did the unspeakable.
Breaking into what should have been a place of safety, he snuffed out 26 lives … silencing laughter, destroying potential, shattering dreams. His vicious act not only tore through the hearts of 26 families that cruel morning, but dealt a crushing blow to the carefree innocence of every child in that school and countless children beyond. … There’s just no way to “make sense” of a crime like that.
Ultimately, I found myself searching for lessons in the tragedy, and one that stood out above others was that there are no guarantees in life. There is no place I can take or send my children and guarantee their safety. My knee-jerk reaction would be to keep them home, virtually tethered to my side. Yet even that is no guarantee of safety — or even of tomorrow.
So how am I choosing to respond to the events of December 14, 2012? By making the most of the moments I do have with my precious girls. Yesterday we had a picnic at the park, played outside, read stories, sang songs, and decorated a gingerbread house. Today we went to church, then went out for lunch. I forgot Baby Bear’s bib, but somehow ketchup and honey mustard stains didn’t seem like such a big deal. We came home, piled in the recliner, and watched Adventures In Lalaloopsy Land. We went outside and played freeze tag and hide-and-go-seek, and for once, I didn’t worry about the noise. We accepted a last minute invitation to join in a birthday party for a new neighbor. We skipped naps and ate birthday cake close to dinner time. Baby Bear crashed about 5 p.m., but instead of fretting over what a late nap would do to bedtime, I chose to enjoy holding my sleeping baby and listening to my bigger girl play happily in her blanket fort. DH seized part of the quiet time to introduce Little Bear to Ticket To Ride. She’s not old enough to play the game as designed, but she enjoyed collecting cards and building trains, and she especially enjoyed one-on-one time with Daddy. Baby Bear hit the ground running about 7 p.m., eliminating all chances of an 8:30 bedtime. So I put a tired Little Bear to bed at the usual time and enjoyed a couple of rare hours of one-on-one play time with Baby Bear.
Nothing I do can change what happened on December 14. No amount of tears will put those precious children back in their mothers’ arms. But the choices I make today, tomorrow, and in the days ahead can make a difference in the lives of the two precious girls I still hold in my own arms, and I pray that I use each moment to its fullest potential.
… Because life comes with no guarantees.