Friday, February 15, 2008

I look at my kids......

Sometimes I look at my kids and I see the potential in them, the promises yet unfilled, and all of the greatness that is waiting inside. I look at them and sometimes I feel crushed by the overwhelming responsibility that I have - to raise them to be good, respectful, loving people. To set a good example. To be perfect, and to show them that it's okay not to be perfect.

I look at my kids and my heart hurts because I love them so much. I look at them and I realize all over again that in a second they could be taken away from me. And then I just pray that I never know that kind of pain.

Today I should be blogging about our Valentine’s Day. I should be writing about how funny it was to give Skippy a new toilet seat (he’s been saying we need one) with a note attached telling him that he’s the shit. I should be blogging about how much fun the girls had at school. I should tell you all about the awesome dinner I made. But instead, today I found myself reflecting on the events at NIU yesterday, and on my job as a parent.

If your parents are like mine, you have pretty happy memories of growing up. You probably didn't have everything, but you had more than a lot of kids, maybe even more than most kids. You sat at the dinner table together. You went on vacations and to band concerts and school plays. Sometimes you thought they would NEVER EVER understand you and obviously they must not want you to be happy because like, everyone else can totally stay out until midnight. You loved them. You knew that they loved you (and still do) more than anything.

If my kids come away from their childhood with those same thoughts, I will be content.

When you choose to become a parent, the job doesn't end after eighteen years. Your children will always be your babies. When the job begins, you sit around at night and wonder how on earth you'll get them to kindergarten; if they will somehow manage to survive the skinned knees from riding a two wheeler and the run-in with the recliner after performing circus acts on the couch. Then the real whirlwind starts...open houses and teacher conferences and soccer and dance recitals and who knows what else. Suddenly you look at your five year old and realize that you sent her to school in jeans that are way too short...even though they just fit last week. And before too long, it will be dating and dances and driving and I'm pretty sure I'll find myself wondering if Skippy and I will survive their teen years.

And then they leave your house for the eye-opening experience that is college. Some people would say that your job is done.

But even then, they are still your babies. And part of you would die if you lost them.

Things affect you differently when you become a mother. Today I am homesick. I am homesick for my friends and I'm heartsick for my school. I miss my Mom, who is still only a phone call away. I miss my Dad, who bullied me through most of my college experience, always pushing me to do well. My thoughts continue to be with NIU. But today, my thoughts are mostly with the parents who have lost children of their own. Children they have raised to adulthood, trusting that they had done all they could to equip them for their college years. Children who won't be coming home, due to a senseless act of violence.

I spent a good part of today avoiding the news channels and websites. When I did tune in, I cried. I had to stop because Banana asked me what was wrong, and I found myself explaining to my five year old that mommy was sad because a very bad man did something that hurt a lot of people at a place that is very special to mommy and Daddy. My five year old doesn't need the troubles of the world on her shoulders. She's still my baby.

I realize sitting here that I have to let this emotion go - it pretty much kept me in my jammies all day and I can't say that I accomplished much. I don’t think I can blog about it anymore – I have to get through this emotion and realize once again that sometimes the world just sucks. Besides, the disbelief and sadness that I feel is nothing compared to the students, staff, and families of NIU. I won’t pretend to even begin to understand what they must be going through.

And I have three amazing kids who depend on me.

You are in my prayers tonight Huskies, and will continue to be in the days ahead.

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