This tragedy isn't mine to claim, of course, but I'm an empathetic person. I feel things very deeply, even the tragedies and sorrows of strangers. I would say it's something that's come on since I've been a mom, but that's not true. I was barely out of high school when Columbine hit and I wept my way through that, too. It's just how my Mama raised me. I knew she too would be crying that night and she was.
There is always a flare up of discussion after these kinds of incidents about what the root cause is. It's gun control. No wait it's video games. No wait it's rock or rap music. No wait it's health care or the lack thereof. No wait it's the parents. No wait it's violent movies. The truth is, in my mind, it's probably a combination of about 87 different things, some we can help and some we can't. And should we discuss these things? Absolutely. Should we do it before the bodies have even been buried and the parents have even had a chance to start to grieve? No. Should we do it with such viciousness and ferocity and vitriol that we lose friendships over it? Absolutely not. And we should be ashamed of ourselves if we do.
This took me a long time to write. Not just because I wanted to do it justice. But because I wanted to do the thing I was encouraging people to do...I wanted to spend extra time holding my babies. I wanted to snuggle and read The Hobbit to Nathan who was older than many of the victims. I wanted to teach him things about what to do and how to stand up for yourself and how to protect yourself and your family and I felt a sudden urgency to teach him as much as I possibly could. I'm sure he got tired of talking to me but I just couldn't stop. And oh Joshie...Joshie, Joshie, Joshie. I wanted to soak up every second of baby snuggles. I wanted to wrap that kid up and tuck him under my chin and just smell his hair and feel the soft way he still opens and closes his fists in your clothes when he gets sleepy. I wanted to listen to the new words he's learning. It became my life's mission to teach him to say "love you" because I so badly wanted him to know what it meant (he doesn't of course) but I wanted to think he did and I told him I loved him as much as my lips could say it.
I couldn't figure out how to close this except to say that I'm praying for the victims and their families. I'm praying for their community as a whole, that they may heal and come together and love may grow out of sorrow. I'm praying for mamas everywhere that they get the meaning of this tragedy and take it to heart and honor the loss and use it to treat their kids the right way. And then I'm going to close with a link to the tribute that The Voice did to honor their victims. I found it a moving and fitting tribute (and I've always adored Leonard Cohen). Be kind to each other, y'all.