As an American and as a parent of a 1st grader and a pre-schooler, the tragedy that occurred in Newtown, CT is unimaginable. My heart goes out to all of the families of the victims. The pictures and the news coming out of CT consumed my thoughts and heart all weekend, as they will for a long time to come. I wish I could be more eloquent, but I need some sort of outlet for my thoughts. I hope they will not be perceived as selfish. What I am is a parent who looks at her own children differently after this weekend.
Like the rest of the nation, I have been consumed by the news from Connecticut. The event, as gruesome as it is, was all the more heart wrenching for me because those children whose lives were lost were the same age as my son. They were probably doing the same things he was when their lives were torn apart from them. My heart aches for the parents of the victims, because I know if it were me I would not be able to go on.
President Obama mentioned a saying about parenthood that I have heard before: that being a parent is like having a piece of your heart living and breathing outside of your body. It is completely true. People obviously know that the bond between a parent, a mother, and their child is unique. But I do not think that you can fully comprehend that unless you have a child of your own. I don't think the intensity of those feelings can be adequately put into words. I struggle to find the words to describe my love for them.
This weekend I was more lenient with them than I normally am, I let them stay up a little later than I normally do and, to be honest, was more patient with them than I normally am. What I realized from Friday's events were that no matter how trying these two little people can be at times, no matter how messy, how obnoxious, how loud and how tiring, I am so incredibly lucky to have them in my life. I don't know if I deserve so much joy and I realize now that I can lose it in an instant.
The joy of parenthood is only equaled by the burden. Every decision I make affects not only me but also them. My responsibilities are heavier because of them. I make personal sacrifices on their behalf. I have the overwhelming responsibility to prepare them to become citizens of the world. It is my job to teach them how to be kind, considerate, active members of society. It is something I don't take lightly, and while I may have been more lenient with them this weekend in particular, I know that can not last long. By setting rules and setting consequences for not following them, I am doing my job as a parent. I am showing them that I love them enough to prepare them for this world.
President Obama also mentioned that from their first step, and every step after that, our children are taking steps away from us. This is true. I sent them both out into the world today when every fiber of my being wants me to keep them with me. But the world keeps moving despite how much we want it to stay still. And I still have an important job to do with these children.