There aren't many words which can even begin to adequately express the utter devastation and end of life-as-they-knew-it sensation that so many in Newtown must be stunned by right now. I was late to the news today; blissfully unaware as I played holiday Bingo as Shabbat mom in Oliver's class and then shocked when I returned home to a message from Jack's school regarding shielding and talking to your kids about the CT tragedy. What? Again? Kindergartners? I left Oliver with a trusted babysitter and hurried to pick Jack up. All the mothers were teary yet strong, willing themselves to remain steel magnolias in front of the children for whom they were waiting and whom they so desperately wanted to clutch tight in a maternal grip. When I saw Jack, unaware of the news and simply happy to see me, start to run into my arms, I just froze, my eyes locked on him and the distance between us. It couldn't be closed quickly enough, and I know the embrace I shared with him was longer than many, as were those shared by countless other parent-child reunions.
As I looked around at all the love and relief and perspective -"I'll take whining any day over....."- the wind was knocked out of me. What if one of those children lost were mine? What if the gifts under the Christmas tree right now, wrapped beautifully and glanced at each day with as much anticipation by the kids as by me, were now for naught? I don't think I could bear to let go of them nor look at them for a minute more.
I hugged my boys repeatedly today, tight, lengthy circles of love and gratitude and pleas of "not me, never me." I thought how little some of the stuff in daily life matters; how those things can seem so critical at times but at others, in a flash, the import each once had vanishes like an apparition.
After school, I told Jack about Oliver's and my visit with Nutmeg, aka cutest kitten, and he said he'd like to go see him too. Taking advantage of the opportunity to spend time alone with my J? Done. We spent a leisurely bonding session with the cat, Jack falling ever more endearing in love, trying ever so hard to please the tiny feline. And after Ol was in bed tonight, Jack, in a darling red thermal long-john mozied down the stairs with a strong suggestion that I read him one more story.
Instead, he served as liaison between pajama-clad, gougeres-making me, and warm-under-the-covers-upstairs T, making the case for bringing Nutmeg home. When T acquiesced not twenty minutes later, I knew we all just felt happy that we could be enjoying each other, grateful to have each other, eager to appreciate lazy times of spontaneous joy. No sooner had I tucked the gougeres in the oven did J and I scoot back out to adopt the cat. Two and a half hours past J's bedtime, I finally tucked him in, my little boy, the most precious and proud cat owner ever.
I will not take this in a political direction tonight except to say if not now, when?, but instead give my every thanks for my family's safety and to send every possible good vibe of making it through the layers of despair the CT families feel and which I know would have me incapacitated for quite some time. All of my thoughts are with them now.