My 10-year-old daughter, Makayla came rushing down the stairs and quickly opened our front door to the cold night air. “What are you doing, Kay?” I asked. “I’m setting a moth free.” I watched as she carefully and delicately opened her hand and told the little moth, “It’s ok, you are safe, you are free now. . .go find your family.” The moth fluttered away. Kay smiled, closed the door, and ran back up the stairs where she was reading. I started crying.
I’ve tried not to let my thoughts go there. I haven’t been watching the news. I can’t. The thoughts are enough to bring any mother to her knees. I sat down with both of my children and talked to them about what happened in CT this week. I knew they were going to hear about it whether I wanted them to our not. They took the news with heavy hearts. We talked about the Christmas present that would be left unopened, how unimportant a fight was with a sibling earlier that day, and the thought of never being able to see one another again. They hugged each other a little harder today.
The next part of our conversation was about the shooter. We talked about his age and what he did. My son (14) was quick to say in the defense of the shooter, “There must have been something wrong with him.” I explained that we don’t know if there was or wasn’t. My daughter (10) chimes in, “People said he was evil.” My mind whirls with how monstrous this act was. How could anyone do this!? But, my heart that felt like a ten pound weight in my chest wouldn’t let the words come out. I explained that we did not walk in his shoes and we are not going to refer to him as, “evil.” His actions were horrific; unimaginably horrific. But, we cannot hate him. Nothing good stems from the feeling of hatred. He is a human being, just like the lives he took and we don’t have the position to judge him. My children understood, but both looked at me with large eyes and asked, how/why did this happen. I softly explained that they will hear many reasons in time, but we may never really know. Sometimes terrible things happen and we don’t get to know why. They hugged me and went upstairs to play together. A few minutes later, I hear laughter and I cried again. There are houses tonight that will not hear that sound. There are siblings gone, forever.
It is our job to do better. It is our responsibility as parents to educate ourselves, our children, and be present in their lives and in this world. There is nothing I can say to make anyone feel better about today and the children (and adults) that were taken from our world. Nothing.