I cannot imagine the grief those parents of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut are feeling. I cannot imagine how they dropped off their kids in school, like they do everyday, but this time, it was for the very last time.
When I was working, I couldn't help feel emotional every time I dropped off Noah on his school's driveway. Partly, it was the daily routine of a kiss & a hug in the car, a flying kiss we would both blow to each other once he got out of my car, the imaginary catching of the kiss and planting it on a facial part we so desired that day (nose or cheek, sometimes, even forehead). At some point, Noah started to rub the hand that caught my kiss with his other hand and would plant my kiss on both his cheeks. The wistfulness every morning was also partly brought about by the sight of Noah, with his bag, walking into his school. Somehow, seeing him carry or pull his bag himself into the doorway of his big school made me feel my baby boy was all grown up. Partly, too, it was because it would be another 14 or so hours 'til I would get home from work & see him again.
But now that I am a stay-at-home mom (with no nanny), I realize our mornings have changed. Mornings are a frenzy: waking the kids up, rushing them through eating breakfast, through brushing their teeth & through putting on their uniform so we are out of the door at a time that they won't be late. The roadworks in our area here make the drive to school equally stressful, especially when I try to squeeze in an oral review of what Noah was taking a quiz on that day while deciding which alternate route would result in the lightest traffic. As I drop them off at school, I throw last-minute reminders at them (check the lost & found for your notebook or I'll fetch you at this time at this gate). There might still be a kiss & a hug while I'm rattling off the reminders but they certainly don't feel like the ones I used to enjoy (albeit, with longing) when I was still working.
I cannot imagine what it would be like if last Friday morning turned out to be the last time I'd see my kids. I just cannot.
What I can do... what I vow to do... is to make it a point to share a tender moment with them every morning, like I did when I was working. Last Friday was the end of absent-minded kisses & hugs with reminders in my mind. From now on, there will only be savored kisses & hugs. I'm not sure we can bring back the flying kiss blowing, catching & planting routine because Noah's hands are full, carrying his lunchbox, thermos & plastic envelope (and Isabella is much too old for that). But a meaningful glance back at me before they walk into school will do just fine. It will be our new special moment. From now on.
My heart goes out to the families of the victims of Sandy Hook. Their mornings will never be the same again. Ever. But I pray that they remember the special mornings they did get to share with the child they lost. And that one day, with God's healing power, they will be able to find hope in the dawn of a new day.
Photo from nyctaughtme.