Today I dropped my 6yo to an elementary school in the US, following another mass shooting at a school.
There is nothing I can say to fully express the horror and heartbreak of what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary last Friday. The pain that those families are going through is unimaginable. I have watched events like this unfold from afar in the past, too many times, and felt the sadness and disbelief, but somehow it’s different this time. We live here now, in a country where a child is more likely to die from gunshot wounds than in any other industrialised country (13 times more likely, I believe, the web has been so full of harrowing statistics over the last few days).
Since moving to the States I have been very careful to avoid political discussion, I am not American, I don’t really understand the political system (although I am trying to learn) and I haven’t felt it my place to comment. I will also admit to a fear of offending a new, potential, friend by saying the wrong thing.
But, as a mother, I cannot accept the ease with which guns are available, I cannot accept that this is a ‘right’, I cannot accept that this right is more important than children’s lives.
On Friday I found myself trying to remember the last thing I had said to my boys as I dropped them at school and preschool. Had I given them a hug, told them I loved them, or had I been exasperated at having to ask them to put their shoes on for the fifth time, or shouted at them to stop screaming in excitement at meeting their friends on the way to school and ‘disturbing the neighbours’?
Today, I didn’t shout, I didn’t tell them off, I didn’t lose my temper in the chaos and frustration that is trying to get three children into shoes, coats, hats, buggy and out the door before 8am. I hugged them as I said goodbye (much to the disgust of my 6yo) and I told them I loved them. Will this last? I doubt it. The frustrating chaos will be too much and I will lose my temper with them and I won’t make it through the school run without shouting at some point. My 6yo will run into school without a backward glance (or a hug). My 3yo will eventually do the same. And that is how it should be (not the shouting of course, but I’m being realistic on that one!)
Today I am thankful for my wonderful, noisy, funny, infuriating boys. Today I kept my little girl close, and left the errands and housework for another day.
Over the weekend it felt trite to tweet or Facebook the mundane, but I realised that actually, I need to pay more attention to the small stuff; savour every moment, and record them.
Which is why I finally got round to starting this blog.