By: Tanya Pimental
Monday morning, in the wake of true tragedy, my daughter went off to school like so many other first graders. Having sheltered her from the terrible news reports, I prayed she would not be exposed to the tales of what occurred in CT while we flew overhead returning from vacation. Even though I knew it was a safe place, the thought of sending her into school terrified me all weekend. I’m not a big crier, but I found myself moved to tears more than once as I reflected on the innocent lives gone.
So many of us, with or without, young children have been so greatly affected by the events in Newtown, CT. With so many factors to absorb, each time I start to think of the tragedy I am moved to tears with a new revelation. This time of year, especially, our kinder, softer sides take over with the Christmas spirit. We truly believe this is a time of year when good wins over evil and when joy fills our hearts. I’m trying so hard to get back to that place. The kids and I are committed to spreading extra goodwill this week. I’m grateful for the chance to do that with them and for the reminder that we need to do more and be more, now more than ever.
For me, the hardest thing about the tragedy is to see the names and ages of these sweet children who were so violently taken from their families and friends. I see 6 and 7 and it just hits me so hard. I look into the sweet innocent face of my very own six-year-old who truly believes in good and magic. Her innocence is so evident each and every day. When she makes a mistake or does wrong by her siblings, she takes it heavily to heart. Imagining her innocence shattered hurts my heart.
I pulled up out front of her school just before 9 a.m. and knew that once she was inside and the bell rang, the doors would lock the crazy world outside. She had been shielded all weekend and I prayed that 3 o’clock would come quickly. I had sent her teacher an email asking that she let me know if the topic came up in class so I could prepare for questions at home. As I do every day, I walked her halfway up the walk and gave her a hug. I quickly asked for second one. The tears where hard to hold back, but I smiled and told her I loved her. Then, like she does every day, she walked away and turned to blow me a kiss a few seconds later. It unleashed my emotions and I sobbed as I pulled away from the school.
Imagining all the other six-year-olds out there who also off to a day full of fun and learning, got me thinking about their moms who were also struggling to let them go. I thought about the families in CT that would not watch their little ones skip innocently into school that morning. My thoughts were with the teachers when I remembered that my six-year-old’s teacher has a first grader of her own. This has changed me.
“Innocence is a characteristic that expresses the purity of the mind, body, and soul.”
To me six is an age of true innocence. Six-year-olds draw rainbows and fairies. They laugh at bad jokes. They overachieve to make others happy. Occasionally, they still ask to cuddle. My six-year-old longs for a Barbie Dream House. It is this innocence that makes this all seem like a nightmare we long to wake up from.
As we all contemplate skipping the big celebrations this year, let’s remember to treasure these days and to make the most of every part of the day. Spread some extra kindness and show your six-year-olds all that is good in this world to protect their innocence.
The Principal at my daughter’s school sent a message that summed up a really tough Monday for me and I find it fitting to share it with you all:
“Give your child an extra hug and kiss each day and never go a day without telling them you love them. My thoughts go out to you all. I hope you can find peace and joy during this holiday season.”