With out a doubt the last few days have been difficult as a parent. The endless, heart wrenching news out of Sandy Hook, Connecticut has left me feeling overwhelmed, fortunate and a bit more than emotional.
As the horror of this tragedy unfurled I did not allow myself to watch new coverage.
I did not want Addison to see the terrifying and confusing images on TV.
I did not want to explain to her what happened in the kindergarten and first grade classrooms and elementary hallways over 700 miles from home.
I did not want her to know that such things happen in our world or in the sanctuary of her classroom. I did not want my trusting, innocent, loving daughter to know that such evil exists.
As the names of the victims were released I allowed myself a few private tears. I could not allow myself to think of the kindergarten teachers I have known, the elementary teachers I have cherished as friends. I could not allow myself to look at the sweet faces of the boys and girls who died and juxtapose them with the beautiful faces in Addie's class or the vivacious voices that used to fill my office.
To even attempt to put myself in the shoes of the families and community of Newton felt overwhelming.
I found myself kissing the tops of the girls heads a lot this weekend. There were still moments when they drove me batty. There were still moments when I lost my temper. But those moments were always followed by a quick moment of thanks.
A moment to be thankful for high pitch shrieks, little girl giggles, a family room floor scattered with blocks.
Every day of parenting is hard. It can feel endless, it can be exhausting. Some days are frustrating, some days are full of tears and short tempers. There are days I feel inadequate and alone and lost. And while it is hard to embrace those days, I know moving forward I will with a bit more ease. Those hard days are still days that I have my babies with me, at my side, under my feet, tugging on my pant leg. Those days are days that twenty families in Connecticut have lost.
As Addie ran down the driveway today with her coat zipped up to her chin and her over sized princess backpack dwarfing her I had a momentary feeling of panic. My baby was heading to what was supposed to be a magical, exciting, hallowed place - kindergarten. A place that is supposed to be full of circle time and learning and creativity, but now feels a bit scary. She waved goodbye and got up on to the school bus and I came inside and cried.
And I know that she is fine and safe. I know that she is in a school with incredible, dedicated educators. I know that in a little over an hour she will jump off the school bus ready to tell me about her day.
I know all of that.
But it didn't make today any easier.