I haven’t blogged in a few weeks, so with a loving push from family and friends, I set out to just write already. But before I could decide how to pick up where I left off, the news broke from our neighboring town of Sandy Hook that made writing anything else feel insignificant and meaningless.
My husband and I were celebrating the holidays at H and S’s preschool on Friday morning, holding them on our laps, singing Christmas and Hanukah songs. As the unthinkable tragedy and its impact unfolded, I was lucky and grateful to have my two little girls in my arms. And my heart ached for the moms and dads who couldn’t in that moment – and especially the ones that had yet to learn they wouldn’t ever.
I can’t stop thinking about those little kids, how their daily lives were probably not so unlike my own daughters’. Filled with wonder over where the Elf on the Shelf might land each morning, counting on their fingers (and toes) how many days are left until Christmas. Singing “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” songs while coloring at (and sometimes ON) the kitchen table. Pretending the bubbles in the bath are piles of pixie dust that Tinker Bell gave them to fly. Learning their first dance steps, showing off moves that might mean to be cartwheels. Hanging off their beds, giggling wildly, fearlessly, yelling, “Mommy! Look at me! I’m upside-down!”
And then there are the quieter things I can’t help focusing a little extra on. Christmas dresses set out on top of each of the girls’ dressers, waiting to be tried on. Two baskets of laundry I haven’t found time to put away in the last (couple of) week(s.) Lying on top: H’s favorite “feet pajamas” with polar bears on them that she strongly insists are sheep. A yellow “S” written backwards on the wall next to guess-who’s-bedroom, and a blue one on the way downstairs to the playroom: evidence of pride for her most favorite letter. The mess of toys that I complain about, scattered across the living room floor. The Ariel doll whose hair has been carefully combed and twisted into an almost-braid and placed in Cinderella’s wedding carriage for her 5 PM wedding to Prince Eric.
This morning, while the girls were busy playing, I curled back into bed with H’s favorite blanket, that she’s been toting with her everywhere since she was able to crawl, and S’s beloved “Raffey,” a giraffe whose face she’s practically loved off, and who’s never far from her arms. It is just too painful to imagine what any of those little angels – and grown up ones, too – endured. Or what my own life would feel like if suddenly, inexplicably, my babies were no longer present in it. NO. It hurts too much to breathe.
And no matter how many times I wrap my arms around their tiny waists, bury my nose in their soft, flowing curls and inhale slowly, deeply, it is never enough.