December 14, 2012

I remember waking up on my first new morning as a new mom – exhausted, sore, but exhilarated at the chance to begin getting to know the little soul to whom I had been entrusted.

What would I do now, if I knew that I would never have another morning of life with my boy in it?  Just the thought of it makes my stomach hurt.

my boy at three.  Steve Martin would be proud.

my boy at three. Steve Martin would be proud.

Even before Friday the 14th, I was the mom in the carpool line who watched her son walk the 50 feet from the curb to the school entrance.  I was the mom who had to have visual confirmation that her child was safely inside the school, even if it meant enduring a few polite -but-impatient taps on the horn from other parents.

Today, I waited fifteen minutes in line while other parents lingered before me.   I must have told my second grader I loved him a dozen times before he got out of the car, grinning at me and tugging his backpack over his shoulder.  Today, I didn’t feel rushed to leave the line, and I watched him as he joined a friend and walked through the school’s front doors.  When the doors closed behind my boy, the tears fell again as I pulled away from the school’s crowded driveway.

There were too many beautiful children lost, forever frozen in time at the magical age of six years old.  My own child was six, not too long ago.   I’ve thought “There but for the grace of God go I” entirely too much for comfort these past few days.

My boy, at age six.

My boy, at age six.

An old friend recently posted this beautiful, poignant essay about what being six years old means to her, and to so many of us.  I am so thankful to her for writing it.  It inspired me to go beyond my own feelings of sorrow and rage and think about what I can do that might add a flicker of light to this darkness.  And honestly, the things I can have the most direct effect upon, the things that I think matter most have nothing to do with firearms, mental health, or media responsibility.

I’m going to be six years old, in every way that makes sense, for as long as I can.  I’m going to look for the beauty in everything, the kindness in people, and I’m going to take sincere delight in all things silly.  I’m going to be kind to other people, even when I don’t feel like it.  I’m going to appreciate what I have and cheer on the accomplishments of others.  I’m going to make up silly jokes and songs and administer both of them often, with reckless abandon.  I’m going to put goodness, kindness, curiosity, laughter, thoughtfulness, sincerity and joy into the world.

I’m going to honor those little souls and the people who loved them by overcoming evil with good, one kindness at a time.  It might not seem like much, but it’s the only resource I truly have.

It’s snowing outside, and in a few minutes I’ll go pick up my son from school.  It makes me both grateful and sad to think about this task, one that used to seem mundane but now feels a sacred ritual.   I’ll make him a snack, he’ll do his homework, and then maybe we’ll add some time to go outside and catch snowflakes on our tongues and play a game of hide and seek.

For every minute of potential, every second of delight and wonder, every moment of magic that was snuffed from this world far too soon, I want to honor it by living furiously happily.  I want to be six, in all its silly glory, to honor those who didn’t get to enjoy it to the fullest.

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