I, along with everyone in the country, have been thinking a lot about the Sandy Hook shooting a lot in the past week. When I first heard about it I was in shock that something so horrible could happen. I cried and hugged my kids. I go to bed every night and think about it. I think about the poor kids and what they went through. I think about what could have possibly been going through the shooters head when he decided to do that. I think about the teachers and how brave they were. I think about the policemen, fire fighters, first responders, anyone that was there and saw that, because I'm sure that's something they will never get out of their heads. And I think about the parents of children that were killed, and what they went through - what was their morning before school like, what were the last words they said to their kids, and how it's so unfair that their kids were taken from them so mercilessly. I pray for those parents every night, that God will provide them with whatever comfort he can in such a horrible situation, and help them to get through the grief and somehow find a light on the other side. It has made me look at my kids, my days, my time, my attitude a lot differently. I have always known, from my experience working at CMN, that I should never take my kids health for granted because it can change in an instant. But these kids weren't sick, it was so unexpected. You take for granted that you leave the house every morning and part ways with your family, and you will all come home that night. I'm making an effort to pay attention to my kids when they talk, to spend time with them (I haven't worked out at all this week while they are awake - but some of that could be from eating too many Christmas treats and being lazy...), to make them feel important, to not let the little things matter (mismatched clothes, spills on the floor, staying up past bedtime, taking an hour to eat dinner), and to have PATIENCE with them (I struggle with having patience!) I've realized they are only kids for so long - sing their song to them 20 times before bed, let them get up and get a drink 5 times before they go to sleep, let them watch "1 more Dora", let them have candy, buy them too many Christmas gifts. They will be teenagers in the blink of an eye and they won't want any of that, and they won't want to spend time with me because they'll be with their friends.
These are, of course, things that I should always be doing, and it shouldn't take a tragedy to make me start. But it's so easy to get caught up in life, and being busy, and working, and you forget what's important and how fleeting it is. I want my kids to be happy, and have great memories of their childhood and the traditions we've started. I want them to be generous and kind to others, especially others in need. I want them to be nice to everyone, regardless of how that person treats them. I want them to be good friends to people. I don't want them to take for granted what they have, because material things can be taken away in an instant (my house burned down when I was 16 and I lost everything. Possessions can be replaced, but people can't). In order to teach them what the important things are in life, I have to know without a doubt what I think the important things are in life. I want them to be happy with who they are, and confident in themselves no matter what they decide to do. Most of all, I want them to know they are LOVED. With the new year right around the corner, it's a perfect time to begin practicing these things. I can't be responsible for the evil people in the world and the decisions they make, I can only be responsible for myself and for the way I raise my kids. I'm hopeful - I know there is good in the world, and there is more good than bad. You have to help make the good though, you can't just sit back and expect to take the good. If everyone helped make a little good, everything wouldn't be so bad! I'm hopeful that my kids will grow up and help make good in the world.