Christmastime is my favorite time of the year. I can barely wait to get started decorating and even begin listening to holiday tunes before Thanksgiving. Then every year like clockwork, as Coco and I count off the days until Old St. Nick comes, I start to get this awful pit in my stomach. A haunting feeling that I just can’t shake, yet I don’t know why.
Then I remember.
Like a smack upside the head.
Coco was in Kindergarten that day and she’s my only child. Since she was 6, while I could never imagine the nightmare those parents were going through, or the fear those children faced, my heart broke over and over and over again for those tiny souls. I’m a hard shell to crack when it comes to adults, but when it comes to children, I love them with all of my heart and soul. It didn’t matter that I didn’t know them personally, I still think of them almost every day, but more so the closer it gets to December 14th. How I can remember that date, I’ll never know, but it’s etched in my mind and I can remember exactly what I was wearing. Like many others, I couldn’t turn away from the news.
I dropped Coco off at school the next morning and I could barely keep it together looking around the playground at all these little 6 year olds. When I saw her teacher I hugged her and just sobbed, I couldn’t control it. I swear if we weren’t holding onto each other so tightly I would have fallen to the ground. There were no words, no actions, nothing l could do for those families living across the country except to pray. Pray with all my might. Harder than I have ever prayed, and hug my daughter and love her and her teachers more than I ever thought possible.
Five years have gone by. My daughter has been through five grades, five teachers, five birthdays, and five more of so many things those 20 six and seven year olds were robbed of. But they are not forgotten. Nor are the teachers that did everything they could to protect them from the big evil monster that should only exist in storybooks.
Tomorrow, as you go through your Friday, make it a point to do five random acts of kindness one for each year that has passed. Smile at 6 people, one for each teacher who lost their life trying to keep those children safe. We often go through our days forgetting to smile, but a small smile can light up someone’s life when they are battling something you have no idea about. Hug your children so much tighter than usual and then make sure to stop and count 20 blessings you are grateful for. One for each child Sandy Hook Elementary School lost that day.