I know that You’re the God above
You’re filling me with grace and love
And I just want to say thank You to You
You pulled me from the miry clay
You’ve given me a brand new day
Now all that I can say is
Another Hallelujah – Lincoln Brewster
My heart is broken for those Newtown families who have only sweet pictures like this of their dear babies. Bright sparkling moments of summer. Sweet smiles and hope and promise and happiness and they’re…
Connecticut is my home. It’s the home in my heart, it always has been, and no matter how long I live here or anywhere, it always will be home. It’s my safe place. It’s where my family lives and gathers, less often maybe than we once did, but the green winding roads and the beaches of The Sound and the old 17th and 18th century churches and graveyards and colonial everything, that’s home. I was born there. I grew up there. I was married there…we were married in the Newtown Meeting House, in fact. So, if my safe place is shattered in my mind…how much more so for the innocent children for whom it was a tangible safe place until Friday.
I’ve let it brew in my brain what I wanted to say, and as usual, it is unlikely to eek out at all, let alone eloquently. We sent Ava off to preschool Tuesday, not because we kept her home on Monday, she just goes to school on Tuesday. All day I was concerned about the students, my student, my child, my heart beating on the outside of my body. When I drove up to the school to pick her up, and sat in the carpool line, still all I was concerned with was my world. As I drove up to the steps of the Pre-K building and Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Parks walked Ava to our car, and Mrs. Jones opened the door to let Ava in…I finally thought of them. These few days have been torturous for them as parents of school children, and as teachers. Not only have they had to endure a weekend of “How do I bring myself to trust my child in school again?”, but also “How do I feel safe where I work again?” And while for these teachers in particular, it strikes perhaps a bit closer to home, since they’ve had these feelings of trepidation before perhaps in the wake of Columbine (I’m in Colorado now afterall); that was a high school and this is an elementary school.
So today, while she was at school, I thought of Ava and our morning of chaos and challenge and drama. I thought of how I would describe her…if I could only use one word, which one would I use to describe her, not that she can really be contained in just one word. She is energy. She is drama. She’s a scrappy, feisty, whirlwind of a girl who loves EVERYBODY, and can somehow bend almost everyone to her will with sheer charm. She is at the moment conning me into playing with play-doh. I mean “helping her make oatmeal.” My greatest fear is that she will be abducted, mostly because her favorite people on the planet are old men. She seeks out “Grampas” like a heat-seeking missile. There has yet to be a store, church, office building, service center or auto dealership where she has not befriended (and talked the ear off) any man aged 60 plus. We go to Walmart and if the regular greeter (who have I become that I know who the regular Walmart greeter is?) isn’t around, she will call for him throughout the store “Grammmmpppppaaaaa! Where aaaaarrrrreeee youuuuuu!”
And then there’s my boy. Sigh. I had no idea when I was pregnant with him that I could love him so much. What was I thinking when I thought I wanted another girl? That I wanted to reuse all her cute clothes? Ridiculous, hormonal incubation stage, that’s what all that was. He is enchanting. Silly, sweet, cuddly, loveable, focused, joyful boy…oh my Christopher, who was I before you were here, you sweet doll baby you? Such a little man, and it’s my job to turn you into someone’s husband…no wonder Mamas are so overbearing to their daughters-in-law.
Still though, parenting is hard work. It is stressful, it is exhausting and you worry that you’re creating damage where you mean to correct and steer them in the right direction and make good choices. You lament that they seem as if they will never, ever, learn to stop hitting their brother, and in the same breath hope that the one getting hit will grow a pair and clock the other one good “just once”. An endless stream of: Why do I have to say…? Can you just please finish…? Why are you still naked?!?!?!? We are late… No, you don’t have time to… OH MY GOD WILL YOU JUST GET READY FOR SCHOOL!!! GET. IN. THE. CAR. NOW!
I think that’s the thing that pains me the most. Our mornings are not idyllic, they are chaos infused battles to get the attitude under control and the clean, fed child out the door…and while we do, every day, take the time to stop and ask Jesus to help Ava have a great day at school, and for her to be helpful, and kind, and a good listener to her teachers (all of them, by name) and to be cooperative and not argue or have a fit or end up in time out… until this week, I never once thought to pray for her safety, or the safety of her school, but now I do. Oh, and I asked Santa for a concealed carry permit and time at the range. My second biggest fear is having someone threaten my family, shoot my husband and for me not to know how to use the gun we have and be powerless and ignorant.