An elementary school - one place you know, for sure, you are safe.
A Kindergarten classroom - the most innocent of all the children there.
11 days before Christmas - I know there is never a "good" time, but this seems especially cruel.
28 lives lost.
Feelings of security vanished.
It really makes you think. About living in this world. And being a parent in it. About protecting your children. And holding on to them. About embracing each day. And about letting go.
I had a helpful conversation with a friend today... who said that all we can do as parents is hold on to each moment we have with our children... but that we have to be willing to remain detached.
I know she is right, but this is something I struggle with. It is the reason I take so many pictures of them. It is the reason I beat myself up about not writing more in their baby books. It is the reason I worry about them and shelter them and sometimes consider never letting them out of my sight.
I am their mom. It is my job to take care of them. And the reality that I can't protect them from everything is a hard pill to swallow. It is something I am working on.
What I know I can do is thank God for them each and every day - in the good times and in the struggles - and let them know, in ways big and small, how blessed I feel to be their mama.
I am reminded of a quote by Mother Teresa, who was asked when she won the Nobel Peace Prize, "What can we do to promote world peace?"
Her answer? "Go home and love your family."
This I can do.