Today

Today, it was extra hard to leave my kids at school, so I walked them in. I held Brielle’s hand all the way to her classroom, helped her put her things in her locker, her take-home folder in the tray and her snack in the cubby. Then I squatted beside her while she started her morning work. I kissed her lips, gave her Eskimo kisses and hugged her while I told her to have the best day ever. Then I stood to walk away,  squatted down again and repeated the kisses, hugs and whispers.  When I walked toward the door,  she called for me to come back for one more hug.
Which of course, I did.
 I cried the whole way home.
Mostly because I keep thinking about a family who use to be part of our community – whose children use to walk through the same halls I just walked through to take my children to their classrooms – who have all become victims of the worst kind of domestic violence…the kind that concludes with an entire family being stolen from their family and friends.  I did not know them like so many of my friends did, but I can’t stop thinking about them anyway, and crying for the senselessness of their deaths and for all the kids whose parents have to try to explain why they will never see their friends again.
***
9/11 is always an emotionally heavy day. Our nation mourns as we try to overcome the senselessness of terrorism and remember all those who were stolen from us 14 years ago. Today, I grapple with understanding how anyone could hate a nation enough to murder thousands of innocent human beings. Today, I wonder how a parent could take the life of their own child.
 ***
Today, I will hug my children tighter and linger in their classrooms for one more hug.
 Today, I will accept that murder is senseless, whether it be an act of national terrorism
or the cruel twist of mental illness that causes an otherwise good person
to believe that death is better than life…
I will stop trying to understand it
because I cannot.
 Today, I will pray that we all love a little harder,
listen a little more closely,
poke our nose into someone’s business when they exhibit signs of depression or abuse,
be kind to strangers and neighbors alike,
and never forget.
             And today, if you see me, I will hug you.
Brace for it.
Because we all need to love each other.
Today and everyday.
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