These past days, since Peter's birthday (Dec. 14th) have been especially sad and heartbreaking. On December 14th, in the town of Newtown, CT 20 children and 8 adults lost their lives in a senseless act of anger. Whether the gunman was medicated, or not, suffered from depression, aspergers, heartburn....or even hemriods... this does not rationalize away the fact that 20 children did not come home from school that day.
Perhaps the feelings of sadness, heart break and raw ache for their parents are because I have a little guy, attending school, age 5..... tragedy can strike at any time.
Gosh. Life is so precious. I admit taking for granted my son. I admit for wishing those sleepless nights away when he would not settle as an infant. I admit not enjoying the loud stomping, shouts and crash sounds he makes when playing. I admit that sometimes I put in ear plugs and pretend to hear what he is saying... so I can drown out some of the noise.
For too long have I played the part of being a mom... and for too long have I denied him the mommy he knows is somewhere inside of me. He's seen it a few times. When I get down on the floor and play cars with him. When I bake cookies with him and don't yell when he flings flour on the counter. When I ask him if I can cuddle (rather than him begging me to stay a little bit longer in his room at night for one more story)
He is always eager to tell some kind of a story about how his stuffed friend "doggie" is getting into trouble again, or how he wants to pretend "zoo" or "Christmas Morning", and jump out of a laundry basket and scare us.
He has a terrific imagination. He is quick to forgive. He has a compassionate heart for others. He likes (no, loves) to make believe play, and loves to be a wolf, fox or dog. He enjoys art, and is an excellent artist. He picks up on when someone is upset or irritated, and attempts to make them laugh. My son is very much a little boy after his mother's heart. He knows what buttons to push to make us laugh, get upset, or want to chase him.
If I ever get to meet any mothers who have lost a child far too early, I would not know what to say. I take for granted what I have, and they lie in their bed (or floor) at night, clenching the blanket their child loved. Gripping onto their stuffed friends. Smelling their clothes. Looking into their rooms. Wishing. Hoping. To hear one stomp. To hear one shout or scream. To hear one more toy car being thrown into the baseboards. They would not hush. They would not remind that "we have neighbours you know" they would not put in ear plugs.
I am deeply thankful for the days I have with my son, and deeply thankful for this awakening. As selfish as that may sound. For anyone reading this that knows me well, please know this is more of a personal reminder for me, than a public notice that I am going to be a better parent "starting now". I don't do well with public declarations... but I will say this: "I start now with a mindful heart of the things I have been given".