It's been 5 days since I found out.
And as hard as I try, I can't stop thinking about it. The sadness. The horror.
I was reading a book to you both. We were laughing. We were singing the words together. We kissed eachother goodnight and I tucked both of you in for a nap.
I walked back into the family room and my sister said, "you won't believe what's happened."
I looked at the computer screen and gasped outloud. I've never in my life started crying instantly the way I did in that moment.
Staring at the computer in shock I hear you, Mia, on the monitor calling for me to come back to your room. And I don't go see you right away because even moving felt difficult.
I wiped away the tears and walked back to your room. You wanted to read another book by yourself. I said okay and told you I loved you, and meant it on a level that I've never felt before. Oh, how I love you. Yes, read that book, sweet girl.
I left the room. Closed the door. And began crying again.
I turned the tv on.
Fell to my knees.
I called your dad. Could barely speak.
He told me to turn it off and I did.
I waited for you to return home, Bella. It was the longest wait ever.
I was too upset to get you from the bus, so your dad was there to get you. I walked outside and saw you in your purple sequin sweatshirt, jeggings and hair pulled back. I kept thinking what if this were you? What if this were you laying on the floor in your purple sweatshirt? I held you longer than normal. But as soon as I let go, my heart and my mind drifted to those poor families who's children never made it home. From school.
I brushed it off as best I could, not wanting any of you to question my sadness. I apologize for I was short and agitated and angry at the situation but I couldn't tell you why. I still can't tell you why.
Your dad put you to bed that night and I went out for errands. Partly because I had a list of them, partly because I needed to get away.
There was no smile on my face as I browsed the craft aisles for stuff to make your teacher gifts.
The brave and heroic teachers that day reassuring the kids it was okay when it wasn't. The teachers and staff who risked their lives for the safety of their students. Teachers who huddled their students and READ TO THEM the entire time until the authorities told them it was clear to leave.
How do you really thank a teacher for all they do for you and your child? I stared at strangers in the checkout lines wondering how they felt when they heard the news. Were they taking it as hard as I was?
We woke the next morning and you kids looked for your Elf. You laughed.You danced and you sang Christmas carols all morning. I stared into space a lot that day--still do actually. Can't help but think how this must feel for the families and the people of that town.
Later that night I couldn't sleep. I layed awake trying not to replay the images in my mind, but couldn't help it. And I cried and cried.
Monday morning came and I walked out the door with you Bella holding your hand tight. I kissed you and put you on the bus. I waved and as the bus pulled away I cried all over again.
Your dad and I have taught you kids not to fear death. That no matter what, every living thing dies. This is life. We will all die one day. Just this morning as I was driving you home from school Mia, you asked me when everyone on this earth is going to die. You are so curious about this life--I love that about you.
This Christmas feels different now. I'm slowly trying to get back into the groove but every time I catch myself laughing or enjoying a moment with you kids I'm reminded of the horrific choices that were made that day. Reminded that yes, there is an awful world that sometimes exists outside of our happiness bubble. And I hope and pray that we're never a part of it. Ever.
And that we will continue to share our love with everyone in hopes that in some small way we can make a difference. Love, we have plenty of it to go around.
You three are my heart and soul, today and forever.