I’ve spent much of the past weekend largely consumed by a sense of overwhelming grief and guilt due to Friday’s tragic shooting in CT. Grief, because as a parent, it’s just about the worst possible outcome you can envision for your child. Guilt, because as a parent of a first grader I still am lucky – lucky to have her, lucky to hold her, lucky to kiss her and tuck her in her bed at night and tell her how much I love her. Friday’s events are a firm reminder at the fragile nature of life in this world. It’s so easy to take it for granted, and yet we can hardly imagine what we would do if any part of it were taken away. We are truly blessed.
This morning there was a good piece on the anguish many parents are experiencing in light of the tragedy (you can find it here: http://www.npr.org/2012/12/17/167427990/why-tragedies-alter-risk-perception). What I found so interesting is how easy it is to go from dealing with the everyday “mundane” risks (car crashes, sporting injuries) to immediately feeling deep anxiety regarding the potential of such a tragic and random event happening to you or your loved ones (which is statistically highly improbable). We know that the odds are we will drop those critters off this morning, they’ll enjoy a productive and engaging day, and we’ll pick them up again this afternoon to repeat the process tomorrow. We know that they’ve been safe every day since we’ve been doing this and they are likely to be safe again today and tomorrow and beyond. And yet, we still feel that dread – that tightness in the heart – afraid that something awful could happen.
So today, as I drove my kiddos to school, avoiding the news reports and trying not to give in to my irrational fears, I found great comfort in this question posed by my 6-y-o: “Mom, did you remember to put our Santa Sale money in our backpacks?” Cue the real anxiety: no, I had not. Potential and unlikely threats were quickly replaced by real ones, the disappointment they would feel if they couldn’t do their annual shopping. Frantic calls were made. Car emergency funds were raided and a solution was found. But still, even now at my desk ready to start the day, I can’t help but smile, and be so incredibly thankful for the gift I received this morning – the gift of the mundane.