All I want in this world is for my children to know they are loved, that I love them and that I love them fiercely. It happened at the first kick deep in my belly. He was my son and I was his mom. My focus narrowed. My world changed. More than a job, a role, or a purpose, I was instantly on a mission to surround my precious children with love. I mean the kind of love that survives you and pushes your children forward.
When I held my first-born in my arms, late at night, in between what felt like a hundred feedings from 2-5am… it happened. The fear. The terror. The lack of air. Every story I ever covered as a TV News reporter flashed before my eyes. EVERY story. And in that one moment, two awful bedfellows: the horror that played in my mind like a movie… and the sweet sleeping angel in my arms. It’s a vulnerability so intense that even writing about it is painful. Because right there in my arms is the one I love the most and yet we are living in a world where the unthinkable happens. And, the worst part of all… there is only so much I can do to protect my children. I had to tell myself to breathe. Focus on the breath. Air coming in. Air going out. I had to comfort myself with a sort of mantra,”right now, in this moment, everyone’s okay.” I prayed, sometimes begged for relief from the fear. And with time, those paralyzing moments became less frequent, more manageable.
Until Friday. Until Newtown.
Because those children are my children, too. We share them, you and me. Once a mother to one… a mother to all.
The news brought me to my knees… for the children, their mothers, their fathers, their siblings, their families and friends… and for all of our children.
Here on my knees, I pray, I breathe and I focus on my mission: To love my children, to love them fiercely. To love yours, too.
And as awkward and weird as it was to hold an innocent baby in my arms and revisit every single horrible thing I’d ever seen on my job… it is also awkward, weird and uncomfortable that the greatest celebration for children arrives on the heels of the worst day for children everywhere.
And so Christmas has to change, too. Perhaps it can’t be about the stuff, the presents, the parties and another opportunity to fill our homes with toys that will be this summer’s yard sale items.
And the truth is I can’t remember a single plastic toy received as a child (well, except for my Sesame Street 8-track player). Can you?
But what I can remember is love. I remember the wonderful occasions when people actually made a gift just for me. I remember special time set aside just for me.
I want to fill my children to the brim with something that matters, that has meaning. And so I’m channeling Whoville. There will be gifts. But I’ve made some by hand. I’ve bought other presents, too. But they are not the latest toys. They are gifts that will send my children an important message: I am paying close attention to who you are, what piques your interests, and I respect the path you are on to becoming a big person. I love you. I love you fiercely.
I’m spending Christmas in Whoville, want to join me?