I went to work on Friday super excited. It was Winter Graduation which means we had the really easy job of attending commencement and then we got to take a half day off of work. I love commencement- it’s so fun seeing all of the students in their regalia, beaming with the pride of their accomplishment and the excitement of what is to come. And, of course, I had been looking forward to my half day of freedom for weeks, mulling over whether I would see friends, or go shopping, or just luxuriate in a quiet home.
Part of my job is to control social media for our office, so I happened to be “live tweeting” from commencement. It was during my second update when I opened my browser and read about the shooting in Connecticut. I flashed the headline to my coworker and we both immediately teared up. But the ceremony was a long way from over and we decided to just hope that the initial reports were wrong. Once we got back to the office, we realized that the reports WERE wrong. It was actually way worse than we had initially thought. I was overcome with grief, as I am sure you were, as everyone around the country was. I cried at my desk for the babies that were murdered in a place they should have felt safe. For the innocent educators who died protecting them. I couldn’t help thinking about Griffin and what I would do if I ever lost him, and those poor parents that now had to face their worst nightmares. I thought about our new graduates and the achievements those 20 children had stolen from them. My heart broke over and over again.
I thank god we got to have a half day. I wouldn’t have been able to concentrate on anything else anyway. Instead of doing something fun or exciting though, I sat on the couch and watched media coverage. It was awful, really- the same small set of facts reiterated over and over again with faces of distraught community members plastered over the screen. I was reminded of September 11th in the way that I was glued to the news. Waiting for an answer, a reason. Waiting to hear that maybe it wasn’t really true, but finding myself in tears instead. After a few hours, Obama addressed the country in a way we rarely see him. Graceful, but overcome. Not offering us stories of hope this time, but instead allowing us to grieve. If you haven’t seen it yet, I would encourage you to, as gut wrenching as it was:
It was after his speech that I decided what I needed, what we all need, was the space to mourn and then to carry on. To do the things that matter. So I got off the couch and picked Griffin up from school early. I needed to hug him and watch him play with the complete joy that being two and unaware allows you. When Drew got home, we decided that was the night we’d take him to see Santa. He’d been asking for Santa for WEEKS and if ever there was a time we wanted to do the things that make Griffin happy, it was then.
Griff was SO EXCITED the whole way through the mall on the way to Santa. In line, he waited patiently and pointed out the elves, snowmen, trains, and reindeer. When we were next in line he kept screaming “Deeta! Deeta!” with a HUGE smile on his face. Aaaaaand then, this happened:
It. Was. HILARIOUS. Apparently, Griffin LOOOOVES Santa, unless it involves sitting on his lap. Then he becomes creepy. I can get behind that. In fact, there is a very similar picture of me reacting in the same way that my parents put out every year. Luckily, there was no remaining trauma. As soon as we removed him, he was totally fine, even waving & yelling “bye, Deeta!”. After that, we took him on some rides and let him guide us around to some stores. He was all smiles- that was all we wanted.
Yesterday we had an awesome day in. Griff got a few more hugs and kisses than usual and in return he was AMAZINGLY well behaved, including eating an awesome dinner and going right to sleep at bedtime. I know he doesn’t understand what happened on Friday, but I think he could sense that we needed to hold each other a little closer and be a little nicer. We needed to make sure everyone knew they are loved.