A word that can’t even begin to touch the way we are all feeling right now.  Loss, anger, fear, disgust, helplessness.  A combination of all of them.

I have been waiting to write something, trying to think of whether I needed to add my voice to the loud cacophony of voices talking about the horrific deaths that happened so very close to home.  Too close.  But for this to happen, as it has so many times, is too close to anyone’s home.  It’s wrong, it’s inexcusable, it’s frustrating in its frequency, and terrifying in its ability to leave us feeling utterly helpless at protecting our children from the world around them. And so I have written nothing.  I have circled the wagons, spent time with my kids, and hugged my husband.  And I have not stopped thinking about the families who can do none of that.

I spent yesterday morning on a field trip with my son’s class — we went to a senior home and the kids decorated cookies with the seniors and then sang carols to them.  Watching the children lined up and singing, green ribbons in their hair, around their wrists, tied to their belts, or dressed in green and white for the children of Newtown made my heart ache.  I felt lucky, and honored, and guilty, and so so sad for the parents who have lost this and so much more.  And so, I ask myself as I have daily — what do we do?  How can we send our children off into the world without worrying or over thinking or fretting?  We can’t.  Terrible things happen daily and without reason.  In my view the only thing we have left to do is to do our best.

We can care for our children.  We can care for our families.  Our friends.  Our communities.  We can teach our kids how to be kind, and gentle, and good citizens, we can seek help for them when they need it — whether they are being bullied or are bullies.  We can teach them the best way to protect themselves when protection is possible, we can listen to them when they speak and DO something when there is something to be done to make their lives easier, or safer.  We can take time away from the rush and craze of everyday life and we can just be with them.  It’s not hard.  Their lives won’t change if they don’t make it to that practice because they’re tired.  They won’t be less successful in life if they are artists rather than math geniuses.  If we accept that and allow that and let them be who they are, maybe we will be raising a better world of people.  I know it’s a tall ask, but an ask it is.  I hear so many people complaining about having to miss family time because their kids have this game or that lesson — but the thing is, you can stop.  You can CHOOSE.  You can value a hug and a snuggle.  I know we all want the best possible futures for our kids, but the prices we are paying as families is too high.  We are missing precious moments, letting time slip by misused.  We are hurrying, and stressing, and scheduling, and not FEELING.  We’re too caught up in the have-to-dos rather than the want-to-dos.

I know we have all been taking this time, loving our kids, and thinking about our families and counting our blessings.  While you are doing that, think about what you can really change, what you really value and take the very best of what you do and do it better, do it together, and enjoy it.

Life is too damn short and too damn hard.  Be aware of your needs and make them happen. Be kind, be loving, be giving.  Find your happy and commit to it.  Maybe we can’t save the world, but we can save our families, our friends or those less fortunate in our communities, and who knows, maybe it’ll add up.  Maybe it won’t, but I can guarantee that it will change your life.

Be well, be safe, and be together.  Sending love from my family to yours and to the families forever changed by this devastating loss of life.