Thursday, 20 December 2012

An American Tragedy

This morning, I attended Crumpet's first "school concert." I watched with a lump in my throat as she and the other lively, pink-cheeked three- and four-year-olds in her nursery class sang holiday songs they had been practicing for weeks. In the run-up to today's big event, she has come home every day excited to share with me her newest song. (I must say that my personal favorite has been "When the Robots Came to Dinner.") In the end, today's "performance" was only about 10 minutes long, but it will stay in my heart for much longer. It's unfathomable to think that I have shared over 2,100,000 minutes with Crumpet since she was born because it seems like just five minutes ago that we brought her home from the hospital. And, yet, I can barely remember what my life was like without her, and, as unfathomable as two million may seem, I know that two trillion minutes will never be enough time to make enough memories for her and Cupcake to know how much I love them.

Less than a week ago, as I was eating dinner, I heard the unimaginable news of the Connecticut school shooting broadcast over the radio. Like the rest of America, I am at a loss for words when it comes to trying to articulate just how deeply saddened -- and outraged -- I am by this tragedy, both as a parent and as an educator. I know I am not the only parent who has found it impossible to fight back the tears when looking at the photos and reading the stories of the youngest victims, thinking, "Thank God it wasn't my children," but also feeling guilty and heartbroken that any parent has to go through such unspeakable pain. Nor am I the only teacher who has felt a mixture of terror, pride, and sorrow for my chosen profession and, more importantly, for the courageous women who lost their lives doing what they loved. And I also know I am not the only American citizen who has had to stop myself from shouting out loud in response to some of the vicious rhetoric and finger-pointing that has come from both sides following this horrific event. I could write an epic post about gun control or violence in America versus the U.K., but I don't think this is the right forum or the right time for that. I only know that today, as my daughter beamed out at me while singing her little heart out, I took a moment to reflect on how thankful I am for all of the minuets in life that are so easy to take for granted. Tonight, I hugged my girls a little bit longer and a little bit tighter.