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Sad Candles and Bellyaches
* This was originally posted at The Flirty Author Bitches Blog* I usually try to keep my blog posts light and cheery, but as a parent I find myself at a loss and emotional. The events were just a few days ago and I find that I’m still having trouble finding why something this terrible can happen. Most of all, I find myself grieving for all the parents who lost their children and for the surviving children who lost their innocence that day. The day the news broke of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, Joie had a half day of school. As such, she was with me when I first saw the news on CNN. Joie is eleven and it didn’t take long before the questions started: “Was it kids like me that were hurt?” “Are they dead?” “Why would anybody want to hurt them?” As a mother, I like to think that I have all the answers, but I found myself at a loss. So finally I just told her, “Sometimes there are bad people in the world, who do bad things and we don’t know their reasons.” That seemed to placate her…or so I thought. Sunday night she started to complain about a bellyache. Come Monday, it was so bad that she cried a bit. While deep down I knew it wasn’t that bad, the selfish part of me wanted to keep her close to me one day longer, so I let her stay home. The sensible part of me knew that it probably had to do with the fears and insecurities all of our children are now facing. In a way, all of our children lost a piece of their innocence that day. School is supposed to be a safe place. It’s not supposed to be a place where you have to fear for your life. Then came the news that there was going to be a candle light vigil at her school. I wondered to myself if I should let her go or not. Not knowing what choice was right, I went with my gut and told her that we would be attending. At first she was reluctant, but I knew that it may be a way of helping her, so I stood firm. As I walked out of the house to go to the store to buy the candles she had one order, “Mom, buy the saddest candles you can find.” Cody and I went to the store and debated over what would be best. A jar candle? A paper cup with a tea light? The options were endless. In the end we went with cheap pillar candles. By the time we were done with our purchase it was time to go, so we didn’t have time to fashion cups or some other shield to protect us from the dripping wax. As a last resort we told the kids to hold them at an angle so the wax would fall to the ground. When we went to the ceremony, the time came to light our candles and we all did as planned, tilting them at an angle. Then I noticed something interesting, as the service began the cheap candles burned quickly and the droplets of wax began to fall at a steady beat. It fell as they read the names of all the victims, it fell during a few of the speeches, it even fell when we sang the most off-keyed version of Amazing Grace ever. By the end of the vigil, the droplets of wax began to look like tears. Almost like the candles were weeping. Much like most of us have been since last Friday. So, I guess I did end up buying the saddest candles after all. When we got home, Joie announced that her bellyache was better and that she was ready to go to school tomorrow. I think that going to the memorial service ended up being a good thing for her. It let her know that while bad things happen in the world and there are bad people out there, there are way more good people who care and love each other. As a mother, I plan to not never take any day for granted and to always remember to give her a hug and kiss before she leaves for school. Most of all, I plan to not let this fear rule our lives, because only then will the good defeat all the bad in the world.