I can't look at the news today and I can't read articles about the shooting at the Connecticut elementary school without tears welling up in my eyes and a lump the size of a walnut forming in my throat. So I do what I can. I love my baby. Today, instead of putting Jack in his crib for his nap, I laid down next to him on our bed, held him in the crook of my arm, planted my lips on his forehead, stroked his hair, still curly from his morning's swim lesson and we fell asleep that way. When I woke up 30 minutes later, my lips were still pressed against his head and my new baby was wriggling around inside of me. I reflected in that dark room how moments like these are perhaps the only times in my life when I am certain of my babies' safety. In the still, quiet room with the sound of cars driving by outside and airplanes flying overhead, I imagine them all being filled with someone else's children and how much sheer faith in humanity it takes to ever let them out of your sight.
"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." To this day, especially in times of
"disaster," I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by
realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people
in this world."
I think of the teachers who huddled their children together and read them stories to keep them calm. I think of my own husband, a school teacher himself, who enters his school every day not knowing what the day will bring but doing his best to nurture, educate, and inspire those young people. As with Columbine, Aurora, and 9/11 before this, the stories of the heroes & helpers will continue to emerge and I will mentally file them all away in an act of self-preservation so I'm not afraid to let my son out of my sight.
Jack's room has posters of "heroes" on the wall. Iron Man, Spider-Man, Captain America. He also has a picture of his dad on his bookshelf, a real hero. I say a prayer of gratitude for our nation's helpers today. Our teachers, our first responders- police, fire and EMTs, our pastors, priests, counselors, and volunteers. All of them are someone's baby. All of us are.
In one of my favorite movies "The Night of the Hunter", the strong female protagonist, a grandmotherly type who takes in orphans proclaims:
"It's a hard world for little things. You know, when you're little, you have more endurance than God is ever
to grant you again. Children are man at his strongest. They abide."
To those babies who were plucked from this earth at their strongest and to the babies, teachers, and staff members of that once joyful elementary school who must now endure the trauma that unfolded around them, I pray for those words to be true. It is a hard world for little things, but they will endure and abide.