Holding on tight


Maria spent the night at a friend’s house last Friday night after the Newtown school shootings had occurred.  As Jon updated me about the victims, I wanted to run over to the friend’s house and bring Ri home.  I didn’t want her out of my sight.  I held onto Mario the entire night. I squeezed his flesh and kissed his forehead and told him I loved him a hundred times over. I received a text from the mother of Ri’s friend. She reported “the girls are watching a movie and eating popcorn; all is good.”  I breathed in deeply and exhaled slowly, and felt a bit lighter than I had five minutes earlier.

Tragedies like the Newtown tragedy force everyone to stop. Freeze. Be silent. Reflect. Pray  in whatever manner works for you. Cry. Feel.

I know if I was one of those parents in Newtown whose child had been so senselessly murdered, I would be blind with anger and grief.  Screaming at the top of my lungs.  I never fully understood the intensity of the bond between parent/child until giving birth to my two, and now I can’t imagine the immense sadness in the loss of your little child. My heart aches for all involved, and I hope that they are able to eventually come to a place of peace and hope. Those darling children and teachers will come back to their parents and their siblings and their families while they sit at dinner. They will bring a smile to their faces. They will be felt when their parents least expect it, and their parents will wrap themselves around their innocence when they most need comfort.  I have to believe that to be the case.

When I picked up Maria from her friend’s house, I found her holding her friend’s baby sister, age 2, around the house.  “This is my precious baby, mom. I just could eat her up, couldn’t you?” I stared at Ri for a good twenty seconds as she held that baby girl, and I couldn’t take my eyes off of her.

“Mom,” Ri shouted as she waved her hand across my face a few times.  “Stop dazing out!”  

“Sorry, pumpkin. I was just watching you.”

Ri smiled and placed the baby girl back in her mom’s arms.  She gathered up her bags, grabbed my hand, and led me to the front door to head for home. I squeezed her hand in mine and when we got to the car, I picked her up like she was a baby again hugging and kissing all over her head.  She laughed and begged “keep holding me, mom!

Gladly, sweet darlin’.

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