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I can’t stop hugging my kids.
I can’t stop embracing them in gigantic hugs and snuggling them until they wriggle free.
I can’t stop kissing those soft cheeks, silky hair, and even their elbows and toes.
When I heard the news on Friday, I reacted first as a mom. Then as a teacher, knowing how those heroes protected their babies and did what any teacher would do to protect their students, bless those angels. And lastly I reacted as a human being, wondering about the humanity of man and how evil could enter such an innocent space and do the unimaginable– it’s an added horror that it happened in a season of such joy and love.
I tend to react to other people’s pain by wanting to absorb it myself. Tears come freely, and when my friends are hurting so am I. Watching as newscasters reporting the news had to stop because they couldn’t go on, and our president fight back tears, I knew I wasn’t alone in my shock and grief.
We’ll all react differently to such news. Some of us can go on, needing to put what happened in a compartment and shut it tight. Some will need extra support, because even though their children weren’t in that school they identify so deeply with it, it’s hard to move forward. Some will react with anger, others with silence, still others with grace and messages of peace.
How you choose to react is deeply personal. I find myself letting it sink in during quiet moments such as when I’m trying to sleep. Sleep won’t come, but tears do. During the moments when I’m with my family, I seek normalcy by engaging and going about trying to keep our home running smoothly… with thousands of extra kisses and snuggles. I had several posts scheduled this weekend, but simply couldn’t hit ‘publish’. I know things will need to get back to normal eventually, but today?
Today (and every day) I’m praying for Newtown, a community in pain. I’m praying for the families of those unable to tuck their children in tonight, and for the students who will be suffering from what they saw for a lifetime. I’m praying for those teachers, who protected their students as their own children. And for the responders who arrived so quickly, went in fearlessly, and now have the task of– well, I can’t even go there.
I’m lighting candles this weekend because as Martin Luther King Jr. said, “darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” I’m trying to find the light in this darkness. It’s very hard.
Have a peaceful weekend, friends. I’m holding all of you in the light and wishing you comfort and love.
As a teacher who counseled students and parents in the wake of 9/11, I’m sharing what I’ve learned about talking with your kids about this tragedy on the Making Lemonade Facebook page. I encourage thoughtful discussion there (and in the comments here, as well). It’s the only way I know to help right now.