ADF Day 3: Tragedy and Indulgence

December 16, 2012 at 4:05 pm

This has been a weekend of dichotomies.  On one hand, there was a terrible shooting in Connecticut (which I have now written out enough times that I now consistently remember to include that second ‘c’) in which twenty small kids of about Lucas’ age were shot and killed by a heavily-armed gunman.  According to current reports, the reason he went there is completely unknown; originally it was reported that his mother was a teacher there, but now they’re saying that was never the case.  I’m not sure why the randomness there makes this even more horrible; I somehow doubt I’d ever know enough about my children’s teachers to predict whether one of their kids was about to lose his mind and do something unthinkable like this.  But I guess it does open the field of possibility wider for whatever false sense of security I might have clinged to otherwise.  I don’t know.

Six adults were also killed in the rampage, including the principal, a school psychologist, a teacher and a full-time sub.  I haven’t figured out what roles the other two played, but it really doesn’t matter; none of these people went to work that day even remotely prepared for what was to come.  According to reports, the shooter had also killed his mother at home, using guns the family owned.  His mother was an avid gun collector and had taught her sons to shoot.

Of course, this has gun control debates flaring up everywhere.  That stuff just makes me weary.

At any rate, this tragic news had its effects on me, as motherhood has imbued me with particularly sharp empathy for anyone who loses a child, especially one so young.  It’s too easy to make the mental leap now from what they must be going through to what such a loss would do to me.   I always joke that the only time I ever feel like I have a lot of kids is while Christmas shopping, but any mother who loses a child feels pretty broken from then on.  It’s not a grief that heals, really.  My sister lost her baby at a week of age, and that baby was one of a set of triplets; she did not have years of memories connected to that child that could spring up uninivited and haunt her, and she had two other babies who needed her besides.  Yet she still cries whenever something brings Ellie to mind.  How much worse it would be to be looking down the weeks ahead toward Christmas with all of the six or seven years’ worth of memories these families have connected with their lost children, to face that agonizing rush of grief every time they think of how those children would have loved this or would have hated that.

And then, of course, this was the weekend of our own family Christmas…

I was really worried that my feelings about what happened would make it hard to fully enjoy this weekend.  Needless worry; my children are aware of the Newtown shooting, but they are typical kids; such news is too far away to be too impactful on their thinking.  They can’t relate to it enough to be as horrified as I am, and so much the better.  Christmas was just what it should have been — excited, loud, messy and exuberant.  Each of my children got exactly what they wanted; a brilliant medieval chess set for Z, the oft-lamented ATM bank for N, a Nintendo DSi with a Kit Kittredge game for S and a new train set for L.   I also sprung for the new Wii U for the whole family, and we’ve set it up in my bedroom for now (until the Christmas tree comes down).  We spent last night singing to Sing Party and playing Mario.

And of course there was food; too much food, too much fatty food.  But this is my kids’ Christmas and a weekend.  So I ate the candy they gave me, ordered onion rings and dessert for Christmas dinner out at Applebee’s.  I had a shrimp salad for my own entree, but sneaked enough fries off of the kids’ plates that I don’t really deserve credit for even that (although the salad was pretty good!).  This morning we went to the City Diner for brunch and I had eggs and bacon and potatoes.  Hardly light fare.

But we’ll move on and I won’t agonize over it.  This is what my treadmill is for, and we’ll see where I’m at tomorrow morning and go from there.

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Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

ADF Day 2: The Joy of Luncheoning ADF Day 4: Back on the Treadmill Again…


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