It's been months since I have blogged. Life has been busy and crazy and going by too quickly. I often get to the point of feeling overwhelmed, like I have too much going on and at I won't be able to get everything done that I need to in a day. Last Tuesday was Reilly's birthday, and I was off work to celebrate with the family. That night I started to feel this sense of dread, knowing that we had a very busy 5 days ahead of us. I couldn't wait to get to 4pm yesterday (Sunday), when I got off of work. Wednesday and Thursday I had to work until 11:15pm. Friday I was off, but had to go to Buster's Christmas party in the evening, followed by getting up at 6am Saturday to work all day, then work again all day Sunday. Friday I had to babysit my nephew in the afternoon, and I was stressing over figuring out when to take a shower and feed the kids dinner after school and get them ready for having a babysitter that night. Buster and I both had to work both days this weekend, so he planned his schedule around mine. We then planned a babysitter for Sunday when our work schedules overlapped. On Tuesday night, this all seemed so overwhelming. I couldn't wait for Sunday evening to get here. I was literally wishing away the time. Correction - I was selfishly wishing away the time.
Wednesday and Thursday nights were very late for me at work, made later by some jack ass trying to steal from the store when it was closing time, making me stuck at work even later. I planned on trying to relax Friday morning before the hectic afternoon and evening and the busy working weekend began. Things don't always go according to plan, though. Friday morning, right after I got the kids on the bus, Grayson fell and got a big gash on his forehead that I couldn't get to stop bleeding. I knew almost immediately that he needed stitches. Buster came home from work to stay with Evan and Landon so I could take Grayson to the doctor, who sent me to Urgent Care for stitches...where we sat for 2 hours. Two hours with a 21 month old in a waiting room is not a good time. They had 2 TVs on, and thankfully one was on Disney Jr. On the other TV, I very briefly saw something that said breaking news about a school. In the end, the doctor was able to use Dermabond to glue Grayson's head to fix it. I was relieved he could get by without stitches. When we got home, Buster had to rush right back to work because he had been home for 3 hours. He said to put on the news. I had to feed the kids and get them down for naps before my nephew got here, so I didn't get to the TV for a while. When I did put it on, I couldn't believe what I was seeing.
There was a school shooting. In an elementary school. Children had been killed. Little children. In cold blood. In front of each other. There were a lot of conflicting reports about who did it and why, but the bottom line was the same. Someone went into an elementary school and killed students and teachers. I cried watching the reports. I wanted to talk to Buster, for him to reassure me that our kids were ok, but I knew how behind he was at work because of coming home that morning. I wanted to go get Reilly and Andrew from school and hold them, but I knew I had to wait until school was over. I called my closest friend to talk about it, just to hear another mom who I knew was just as worried about her own kids. We were both in shock over what we had seen and heard about the events of the morning. We both wanted our kids home, just to hold the and hug them, and never let them go. We agreed that Grayson needing stitches and the flu going around her house, things that had seemed like a big deal to us, were nothing in the big picture.
Most days I just wait at my front door for the kids to come around the corner from the bus stop after school. But I walked to the bus stop Friday afternoon and waited for the bus to pull around the corner. I hugged and kissed my kids the second they stepped off the bus, and I could feel my eyes filling with tears the as soon I touched them. Reilly asked what was wrong, and I just told her I was happy to see them. She's nine now though, and she knew something was up. I was able to play it off as being happy I was off of work that afternoon, and that seemed to be a satisfactory explanation.
The rest of the weekend went by fine. Maybe it was annoying to have to wake up so early to go to work. Maybe it was not ideal to need a baby sitter so we could both work our weekend shifts. Maybe it did feel like a very hectic weekend. But it wasn't as big of a deal as we originally thought. It wasn't awful. Because when I got home from work on Saturday, although Buster left as soon as I walked in, I was able to hold and hug and squeeze my kids. I was able to sit with them and snuggle and read books and play trains with them. I didn't mind when they didn't want to eat their veggies or clean up their toys. Because they were here. I knew that just 300 miles away there were parents planning their children's funerals. I'm sure those parents would give anything to hear their child complain about eating green beans or cleaning up the family room. Saturday night I sat with my boys (Reilly spent the night at my dad's) watching Frosty the Snowman, rubbing their heads and holding their hands, holding onto them, smelling them, watching them smile at the movie, loving them. As they sang the songs and laughed, I could feel their excitement about Christmas. They talked about how many more sleeps until Santa would be here and wondered where our elf would end up the next morning. My mind just kept going to the kids who were probably so excited about Christmas, and their families that would never be the same.
Eventually, 4pm on Sunday came, and our hectic five days were over. Buster was done working, and we were all home. We had pizza for dinner, and as I looked around the table at my big beautiful family, I felt the tears again. When we put the kids to bed last night and said prayers, I hugged my kindergartener tight and felt the tears. He is just a year younger than the victims of this brutal crime. I hugged Reilly tightly, my big girl who just celebrated her birthday. One of the little girls shared Reilly's birthday, turning seven just three days before this happened. The tears stayed in my eyes and my voice cracked as we said our prayers, but I didn't let the kids see me cry. I don't know if it is right or wrong, or what the proper thing to do here is, but I don't want them to know about what happened in CT. Maybe that sounds wrong, because there are so many children who witnessed horrific scenes on Friday. I don't want my kids to be scared to go to school. I had enough fear in sending them today for all of us. They love school and they love their teachers. I want them to continue feeling this way as long as possible. I was sad as I put them on the bus this morning, but I was also thankful that I was able to send my kids to school, knowing that there are families who cannot do that anymore.
My kids are the same kids they were last week. Evan is still Trouble, where his new obsession is putting things into the toilet after he pees in it. When I saw him putting a cup in the toilet today I didn't yell at him like I did last week when he was squeezing toothpaste into the toilet. Because he is here. I'd rather have a broken toilet than not have him. The kids still argue and touch things they aren't supposed to and don't share with each other when they should. But they are here. So, the kids are the same. I am different. Buster is different. We are listening to them better than before, making them feel important, spending time being present with them. At dinner tonight, neither of us told them they wouldn't get a snack if they didn't finish their dinner. We didn't use our phones or iPod or iPad while we watched a Christmas movie with them tonight. We hugged them extra long before tucking them into bed. They have gotten more hugs and kisses than normal in the past few days. They are here. We are here. We are lucky. While I am enjoying the family time and counting my blessings, I have a sick feeling in my stomach thinking about the families that are burying their babies and loved ones this week. While I felt worried about sending the kids out into the world again today, I know their teachers would protect them just like the teachers did on Friday. My sister is a teacher, my mom is a school secretary, and I was a teacher. I know how much you have to love children to work in a school. I know my kids are as safe as they can be at school. But I still want to keep them home in my own protective bubble forever. I want to shield them from violence and keep them innocent forever. This tragedy has made me realize I can't wish time away like I did last week, for we have no idea just how much or how little time we have in this life.