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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Pain & Tragedy

At 7:30 Wednesday morning, Mark and I were deep in conversation with our two oldest.  We knew they would be going to school.  We knew that others would be "talking about it."  We just wanted them to hear it from us first.  "Remember the mall that has the Disney Store?  Remember the mall where we go to dad's favorite store REI? Remember where we get the yummy lemonade and the pretzels?  Something really awful happened there yesterday.  A man with a gun went into that mall, into the food court and started shooting his gun.  He killed 2 people and himself.  It is very sad.  I just wanted you to know because kids at school will be talking about it and we want you to know from mom and dad." 

Growing up...I never heard a conversation like that from my parents.  My kids are growing up in a completely different world than I did.  It is scary.  I worry.  There are more questions than I have answers to.  Days like today, I feel deflated and defeated.  I feel that once again the "world" has left an imprint on their hearts and I am unable to erase it. 

Tonight...after the kids were tucked in bed and the house was quiet, I plugged in my ipod and started washing dishes.  And.I.cried.  The tears came and I let them as I recounted my day, my week, my last couple of months.  I AM TIRED!  Physically, emotionally, mentally...TIRED.  5 therapy appointments this week!  5!  In my mind I see three pairs of eyes that are looking at me.  I sometimes feel no matter how hard I try, no matter how hard I fight, it.isn't.enough.  And I so wish it was!

Luke had a therapy appointment tonight, and at the end of the session he gave me a paper about how he is feeling.  He would read a statement and then circle how it related to him (not at all, sometimes, often and all the time.)  The honesty and realness of my little boys' heart is amazing.  I read it sitting in the therapists office and bit my lower lip.  It was all I could do to keep from crying.  But with 3 little pairs of eyes looking to me, I held it together.  Can anyone answer me this....why is the world so cruel?  Why are kids so mean?  Why do they constantly pick on those that are different? smaller?  less than them?  It PAINS me on the inside that Luke now realizes this.  He knows he is different.  He knows he is not like everyone else.  He KNOWS the very things I have tried to protect him from.  I FAILED.  I have seen his classmates in action and it is not nice.  There is little the school does these days.  Sure they have their little cute programs and rhymes about how to solve problems, but let's face it they are not holding students accountable for how they treat others. 

Grace feels the PAIN too.  She knows the things she struggles with.  She is already attempting to "fit in" so to speak.  She often will tell me everyone is mean to her at school.  She wants to wear her hair a certain way and her clothes a certain way and she is SEVEN!  I don't remember caring about anything like that at seven years old.  But the are constantly surrounded by it (TV, media, stores, the mall).  It is almost impossible to escape. 

Shortly after beginning this post, we heard of the shootings in Connecticut, at the elementary school.  Mark and I sat on the couch and cried.  This tragedy has moved me and has shook me to the core.  I told my mom it is like a double whammy for someone like me.  First as a mother of young children.  Some of the victims were seven years old.  Grace is 7.  It took everything in me not to go and pick them up from school on Friday.  Oh...and letting them go to school on Monday...that was even more difficult.  Then I am a teacher, at an elementary school.  I sobbed Sunday night to Mark that I was scared.  I am trusted with the precious lives of preschoolers.  It is an scary feeling to walk into the office or past the Principal's office or past the first grade classrooms without thinking about "what it must have been like." to have those thoughts in your place of work.  But I am reminded that we cannot live our lives in fear.  We cannot cower away from living our lives, of going to school, of shopping in a mall.  We must remember how precious this life is, to reach out more, to connect with others more, to hug our children a little tighter and a little longer and to pray for PEACE for those that have suffered such unexplainable loss.
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