Parenting

Taking a moment to appreciate our children

Friday’s horrific incident has parents all over the world reminding themselves how lucky they are. Tracy included.

Anna and Avery.

Maybe it was my imagination, but Avery seemed extra-affectionate this weekend. On Friday night, she climbed into bed with me. Instead of dragging my butt out of bed and carrying her back to hers, I moved over and made room. “I want to cuddle,” she whispered. This was unusual; often when she comes to my bed, she claims some territory and doesn’t want me to touch her, which is why I haul her back to her own room. But this time, she pulled my arms around her tightly. Another strange thing: After about half an hour, she turned to me and said, “I’m going to go back to my bed now.” She’s never done this before. It was as if she knew I’d cried myself to sleep that night, that I needed the cuddles, needed her.
 
On Saturday, she wanted to sit on my lap and snuggle up next to me on the couch. She pulled my chair right beside hers at dinner, so they were touching. She kissed my hands throughout the day. When I put her to bed, she asked if we could hold hands and said, “I love you forever, Mommy.”
 
There have been a handful of times that Avery has completely freaked me out by saying something out of the blue that echoed a random thought or feeling I was having. In the summer, I was making her a grilled cheese sandwich and thinking about getting a new kitchen table. I was having an internal debate about whether to get a regular table or a counter-height table. While the counter-height one would be a bit high for Avery now, she wouldn’t be four forever.
 
We had our lunch and talked about going to the park. As she put her dishes on the counter, she said off-handedly, “I don’t want us to get a high table. If I fall off my chair, it would really hurt.” I was stunned. Had I mentioned this possibility before? I didn’t remember doing so, and certainly wasn’t speaking my thoughts out loud. But somehow, she heard me. This weekend, I wondered if she sensed my anguish over the incident in Newtown, Connecticut, and wanted to comfort me.
 
I didn’t plan to write about this as I sat down to update my blog — in fact, I planned to write about anything but this — but I can’t seem to find any other thoughts to put into words today. I know the whole world is discussing and dissecting what happened. I don’t know what the best use of my energy is right now except to love the crap out of my kids, renew my vow to nurture their souls and to remind myself how important it is to follow my heart, instead of the crowd, when it comes to raising them. I found myself newly captivated by my girls this weekend. I took my six-year-old, Anna, to get her hair cut on Saturday and sat watching her through the mirror from my seat in the waiting area as she giggled and chatted with the hairdresser. God, when did she grow up on me? There was a moment this weekend that was like a movie: I was just staring at Avery’s lovely face while she was telling me something and suddenly, she was saying, “Mommy? Mommy?” I’d gone somewhere else, and it was a good, grateful place. I’m hoping that Friday’s events will remind me to stay there.