My heart is heavy as I sit here on the eve of the Sandy Hook tragedy and find myself reading about this latest school shooting. I am taken back to the moments one year ago tomorrow, as I grieved with the nation over the senseless taking of such innocent babes, and feeling an all-encompassing and urgent need to hold my own babes tight until they squirmed out of my arms. On that day, I scrolled through my Facebook feed, commiserating with everyone over how hard it was to grasp what had just happened, and noted the overwhelming urge many also shared for the desire to go hug their own children. I remember being struck by one friend’s status in which she expressed that parents shouldn’t need a tragedy to have them go tell their children that they are loved, and that these are sentiments that should be shared every day.
I get what she was saying. December 14, 2012 was not an isolated day in which my children randomly heard me express my love. I can’t get enough of smothering them in hugs and kisses and I verbalize probably at least 92 times a day (and 101 on Sundays) just how much I love them. Without a doubt, they know they are loved. As Lila will tell you, “My mommy loves me all the time, even when I’m a naughty”. But on that day, they did hear it just that much more and I held and squeezed them just that much longer.
Because while I don’t need a devastating national event to occur in which the lives of children are senselessly claimed in order to remind me that I love my own children, these types of events do remind me yet again just how fleeting life can be and that tomorrow is never promised. To slow down, breathe, and just be present in the moment for my children is one reminder that I don’t think I can ever get enough of. So yes, my children know before they close their eyes at night, the very second they get up, and with every waking minute of the day that they are loved. But on terrible news days like today, Mommy is going to purposefully seek them out yet again to hold them long and tight just one minute more, and to tell them for that 102nd time just how much I love them. Because I can; and because my heart aches for those parents that now can’t.