I feel anger and hate and sadness and pain. Why? Emma is just a bit younger than those children who died today. It makes me want to scream. But mostly I want to pull my children into my arms and feel them breathe. There she is, my dear sweet little Emma. Sleeping so peacefully. Dreaming of butterflies and dragons.
But tonight was different. I was driving home from Bunco, with the first place prize next to me. I've never won first place at Bunco before so I should've been raving. But as I drove home I thought to myself that this wasn't the real prize. My real prize was sleeping in her princess bed, waiting for me to wake her up in the morning with the green gummy bears I stole from the party.
And then I wanted to be home. I found I was hitting 80 mph. I wanted to rush through our front door and pull her into my arms and hold her until the sun came back up. I wanted to sob and scream and take my kids to a far away island where they could never be hurt. I wanted to look Emma in her innocent eyes and tell her she'd always be safe. My heart ached and I kept wondering, what if it had been her?
Am I the only one? Are there others who did the same? Please, mothers, tell me I'm not the only one. Tell me I'm not crazy and hysterical.
You know those little things you never notice? The untouched plate of food, the half-eaten cracker, the drawing she did just for you....they'd suddenly be unbearable to see. I couldn't do it, you know.
I swear if it had been her I don't think I'd ever heal. I'd see her blanket, her bed, her finger prints on the television. The piles of toys strategically placed in fives, because that's her favorite number. I'd smell her baby shampoo and see the messes she left in every single room of the house. Her brush, her shoes, her dinosaur. Her unopened Christmas presents. I'll never let it all go unnoticed again, I swear.
Please. Oh, please don't ever let this happen.
I'd beg our God to pass her by. To let her stay.
Oh, sweet Emma. Will she ever know the kind of joy she brings to us with a single sentence, a single word, a single smile....The joy of merely being in the same room with her when she laughs.
And, oh, the horrific pain it'd bring us if she were taken.
But she's here. And so is Rowen. And our family will go unchanged. Unlike the twenty other families who are left without the laughter. The smiles. The unopened presents are left under the tree. Their arms are left empty.
And now I'm home. The news is off. Our house is quiet. The children are sleeping silently in their beds, and my husband is patiently waiting for me.
I'll sneak into Emma's room, kneel beside her at her bed, softly kiss her forehead and watch her as she sleeps. I'll want to pull her close and whisper that I'll love her forever, but she won't know why.
But I do.
And when I smother her in a million kisses tomorrow, she won't think twice about it. She'll wrap her arms around my neck & say, in her little voice, "I love you so much, mommy". And I'll desperately cling to that.
And all those sweet little things about her that I always let go unnoticed?...
...I'll notice them ❤.