Me: Darling, can I have a hugga please? Something bad has happened and I am feeling sad.
Grey: What happened, Mumma?
Me: Someone was being very dangerous and unsafe. Some people got hurt and it is sad.
Grey: I'm sorry, Mumma
He then lumbers across the bed to give me a hug where he propels his heavy arms up over my shoulders and without a reservation in his mind, plops his full body weight onto me.
This is how much my oldest child weighs. My body comfortably accepts it because it knows the exact feel of that amount of a little body in my arms. This has always been a point of joy of motherhood to me - that my body remembers the feeling of the weight of my own children. When I returned from the hospital with our daughter I was so surprised when I picked up my son for the first time again. He was a ton of bricks compared to the new baby and my body went through a short phase of adjustment working out and memorizing the differences in weight and then learning the weight of them both in my arms at the same time. When I hold other parents' kids, my body always feels slightly awkward and unbalanced, but when I hold my own, my body feels strong and supportive; my muscles hum with recognition of their tiny bodies.
He squeezes me tight and then steps back. He gives me a little grin and I attempt to choke back a lump in my throat. I know there are parents tonight that will not feel the weight of their child in their arms anymore.
Grey: Mumma, we're not being dangerous.
Me: No baby. We try to be safe and take care of each other.
Grey: Yea, we're not hitting.
Grey: We're not pushing.
Me: That's right.
Grey: We're not tackling.
Me: You are right my baby.
And here it comes again, the deep pain in the bottom of my stomach. My baby can spout out a grocery list of things that are dangerous; unsafe; 'bad.' But they are no where near close to what has happened. I know the babies that saw and heard and felt those things yesterday have lost so much of what makes children's hearts wide open and ready to accept and love everyone.
Yesterday, during naptime, I sat in front of the television watching the news roll in about what had happened. At first I sat there with my hand over my mouth disbelieving. And then, I would lose myself and begin to sob uncontrollably. And after awhile, I laid my head down on the arm rest with no expression at all; just tired and so so sad. Our dog came over and rested his chin on the couch near my head in an attempt to bring me back from wherever I had been inside of myself.
I spent the rest of the day in a haze, trying to battle out what I was feeling - trying to comprehend that we live - I am raising babies - in a place where this sort of thing happens; now on a regular basis it seems. What I feel for those families, for those babies, for that community, for anyone that has a direct connection to what happened yesterday - is so deep a hurt inside of me that I don't even think I've been able to feel the depths of it yet.
I have a pain inside of me about what happened; about what those families are trying to make sense of and recover from this morning. But there is a part of me also that is aching because of the aftermath. That my babies are growing up in a world that immediately following a tragedy, the media thinks its appropriate to interview children who aren't even able to comprehend what happened to their schoolmates. That my babies are growing up in a world where people know what happened to the Kardashians on last night's episode better than the names of their neighbors. That my babies are growing up in a world where people call out their battle cries in their statuses:
"More Guns would fix this!"
"Less Guns would fix this!"
"There is no place safe for my kids anymore!"
"It's the fault of __________ (video games/media/rock music/mental health/fame-seeking/make up your own guess)"
I had a moment yesterday where it felt like the ground beneath me shifted. When I thought, 'no, this is not the world that I see everyday. This cannot have happened in my babies' world.' And in that moment I re-established my footing and I took a deep breath and whispered to myself - 'what are you going to do about it, Tabitha?"
I'm going to do the only thing that I know how to do. The one thing that I believe can battle against hate and evil and horrible things that have no place in my babies' world.
I am going to love.
I am going to keep sending out love and kindness and hope, albeit completely naive and ignored, out into the world.
I will seek out images and articles and videos and stories that remind me of the goodness of all people. I will attempt to be a beacon of love and kindness and hope to people who see me, or come read here. I want to live in a way that when people think of me they feel light and inspired and hopeful and that they will send love and kindness out into the world as well. Being kind to one another and reaching out to each other is how we can change our babies' world.
We are good.
There is good.
I believe it; I know it deep within me.
So much more good than not.
"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping."