Thoughts on Newtown

Like most parents around this country, the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut at Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday has really impacted me.

My heart breaks for those parents who no longer have their little babies to hold. I can’t imagine what they are going through.

The town where 27 innocent lives were tragically taken is more than 2200 miles away from my home. Yet I have a sinking pit in my stomach when I truly contemplate what happened and accept the fact that things like this can happen to anyone, anywhere.

Life is so fragile.

I’ve been thinking of Luca a lot lately. Although I realize that my 37-week stillborn son’s natural death in no way compares to losing a child to horrific murder, his death two-and-a-half years ago made me realize that life is so short.

I’ve been thinking a lot about that again lately.

So many of us think that there will always be a tomorrow; that we can give our best next hour; that we can show our love next time.

Sometimes there is no next time.

It was torture packing up and putting away the small stack of baby items we purchased for Luca – little onesies, binkies and pajamas that would go unused. I can’t imagine going through my older kids’ things. What would I do with the wrapped presents that sit under my Christmas tree waiting for them to open Christmas morning?

Yet there are dozens of family members left imagining that very thing this very week.

For those families I am going to try with all my might not to take my three living children for granted.

I have been guilty far too many times of snapping at my boys. I have shed tears late at night for losing my cool and not showing them more love. You would think that since I lost a baby I would appreciate my boys more. But life gets busy, crazy and stressful and it is so easy to become impatient.

I have been thinking a lot this week of my oldest son who is in the first grade. Many mornings I drive a little too fast to get him to school on time after I have hollered at him for more than an hour to get his clothes on, breakfast eaten, teeth brushed, etc.

It’s crazy at our house in the mornings.

I have once again vowed to myself to calm the heck down. Getting to school before the tardy bell rings is not worth losing my cool and nagging my boys all morning to hurry up.

I have hugged my 6-year-old extra tight this week before letting him walk into his classroom.

I love my boys with all my heart and am scared to death of losing another one.

Life is short and death comes for all of us.

That is why there are some things I have changed since we lost Luca. I try to savor the small things I might have taken for granted before.

Things like the smell of my boys’ hair after it’s just been washed, or the sound of their breath going in an out while they are sleeping.

I love the way my two oldest both stick their tongue slightly out when they are concentrating and my heart melts each time I see my baby’s toothless grin.

My children eat much more candy, watch much more television and get far more toys than they would have before we lost Luca.

When they beg, I let them play “one more game,” eat “one more treat” or steal “one more (slobbery) kiss” from their baby brother. For all I know, the three musketeers will grow old together, but life can be unexpected. You never know how many chubby kisses you have left.

That’s why I sneak extra kisses after they have fallen asleep at night — even if I risk waking them up. And I read to them one of my favorite stories “Love You Forever” — even though they laugh at its chorus.

And I tell them I love them over and over and over again — even though they roll their little boy eyes at me and say, “I know mom. You tell us that all the time.”­

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