I hugged my 5-year old a little too much yesterday.
He became annoyed by the 100th long embrace and the 200th kiss on the head, but I didn’t care. He can complain all he wants. I counted every embrace and kiss. They are tucked away in the depth of my being. Locked in a treasured vault, untouchable by human action or words.
My reason for the over-affection? The lives of innocent children taken. A shockwave that raced across the U.S. faster than lightning. A hurt so deep it affected every part of our day. An empathy for hurting parents in Newtown, Connecticut who are now forced, by the deplorable choice of another person, to spend Christmas without their child.
As parents we can testify to this- what happened yesterday at Sandy Hook Elementary School is our worst nightmare. Every morning we wake up, this is not what we think about. We pack our children’s lunches, we feed them breakfast, help them tie their shoes, and hug them as they skip off to the school bus. But we never think that hug or that kiss will be the last we give them. We think about the rest of the day. We think about the upcoming holiday with family and friends. We think about signing them up for little league in late winter. We don’t think about the end of their lives.
For that, I confess- I hurt. I hurt for the parents who are grasping for understanding. I grieve for the unwrapped Christmas gifts, under their tree, that will never be touched by curious 5-year old fingers. I weep for the hopelessness and unending pain that each and every person in Newtown is experiencing.
This is one of those moments where, as a parent and a human being, you wish you had an “undo” button that you could push on their behalf and reverse everything. You wish that you could scoop everyone up and just hold on to them until the storm passes. But you can’t. What has happened has happened and there’s nothing any of us can do to change it.
And so I write on behalf of every parent who loves their children: We’re praying for you Newtown. We hurt for you. We hug our children tighter and longer today as we think about you and grieve for you.
May God hold you and care for you in your time of loss. Our prayers are with you all!
“So we fasted and earnestly prayed that our God would take care of us, and he heard our prayer.” Ezra 8:23 (NLT)
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