I hopped in the shower while Jake took the girls to drop Cora off at school. My mind was wandering to a million different places when it got hung up on a thought. I know it happens to every parent - the what-ifs. This what-if was, "What if something happened to Cora?" The funeral scene played out in my mind, and I was overcome with emotion. I went to wipe the tears away, an automatic reaction, but no need really since my face was already wet. I was caught by how different tears feel from water as my fingers brushed across my cheeks. When these thoughts were starting to get the best of me, I did the only thing I know how to do to keep from getting completely overwhelmed. I knelt and said a prayer of gratitude for my beautiful daughters, and for the gift of motherhood.

We had a fun day with one another. This was Jake's official start to Winter Break. When we got home from school, Cora was feeling sad at the thought of all-day kindergarten next year because she "didn't want to leave Mama." I'd been randomly thinking about homeschooling all morning, and talked to Jake a bit about it over lunch (these are random thoughts, not decisions). We went to the Science Museum after lunch and spent hours there. I found that I am obsessed with the balance machine - it times how long you can keep your balance, and I'm not talking stand on one foot balance, it's like perfect balance. 5.7 seconds was my record. When we got home, I started making matzo ball soup for a little Hanukkah gathering with Ashleigh and Andrew. I was looking at the ingredients I'd assembled on the counter when Jake came in and said there had been a shooting. "20 children between 5 and 10." It's horrifying.

During difficult times, I say I need a wailing wall. I felt I'd found a kindred spirit when I read Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees, and came across May who would stuff notes in a wailing wall she made in the backyard. Sometimes it's just too much, and her being able to write down all that made her ache inside  and put it somewhere else made it better for a time. Being a mother is terrifying. It's wonderful and amazing and all of that, but no one could have prepared me for how much worry would come along with it. It's the same sort of thing that makes me fall a part at the slightest thought of something happening to my babies. There are no words for the kind of love that exists for the lives I am responsible for. And one of the most tender parts of that love is the way it's reciprocated. The way they love me is a blessing - the way I am their comforter, and adventure guide, and nutritionist, and everything - the center of their world. When tragedies like the one today happen, I go back and forth between what is protecting and what is smothering. An example: do I want to homeschool because it will give me a greater sense of security - because I want my girls to be stuck to me like glue? Absolutely! I want to live in a little cottage in the country and shut the world out so I can make my own little world with them. Is that smothering? Maybe a little. But it seems so dreamy.

This day began with deep hurt at the thought of something happening to Cora, and it's ending with her warm and snug in her bed. Both led to prayers of gratitude, and with what happened today, a deeper appreciation for what I value most.

PS: It rained tonight on our way home. It was heavy and blowing, and something about it felt so good. It reminded me of Patty Griffin's song Rain. 
It's hard to listen to a hard hard heart
beating close to mine
Pounding up against the stone and steel
walls that I won't climb
Sometimes a hurt is so deep deep deep
you think that you're gonna drown
Sometimes all I can do is weep weep weep
with all this rain falling down...


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