I could not wait to pick up my son from preschool. I was so happy that I was able to pick him up today. Who would’ve thought I ever would’ve had to be grateful for that simple pleasure? I could not wait for that yellow bus to round the corner and see my daughter run toward me.

I don’t have words to describe the hugs and the way I soaked their essence right up into me.

But then I had to drop Mia off at a birthday party, so JJ and I were alone. I couldn’t shake my feeling of anguish over what had happened.

Rather than go home, I wanted to be around other people.

“What do you think about getting something to eat while we wait?” I asked JJ.

“Yessss! Can we go to Port Tavern?” JJ squealed.

When we were at dinner, I was in the strange position of sitting in a booth, facing both JJ and a widescreen TV with no sound. If I looked straight ahead, I could see both the coverage of the shooting and my son, smiling mischievously over a steaming bowl of mac and cheese. While other patrons and staff gathered around the TV to see the images of what had happened, I tried to focus only on JJ.

At numerous points, I couldn’t help myself from crying. The waitress knew. JJ didn’t seem to. The waitress and I, as adults, were in this together.

I had a heightened sensitivity to everything JJ did. When he touched me, I felt extra warmth. I could smell coconut shampoo on his fuzzy head. I really heard everything he said. In thirty minutes, he covered all of these topics: Mama, Sarah likes rainbows! Did you see the picture I drew of Mia? I made her have a tattoo of Frankenstein! Do you think I know more than Siri? I think birds CAN smell with their beaks. This mac and cheese is good, but I like the box kind that you make the best. Do you think it would be fun to be a dog? I do. Why can’t we take Guapo out to dinner?”

He slithered and wiggled, and I did not get exasperated.


My heart ached for how beautiful and innocent he is, and how lucky I was to be eating dinner with him, just like any other night. And my heart ached and ached and ached for those beautiful and innocent children who are now gone and for their parents who will not be sitting with their slithering, wiggling loves.

Here’s to really being here. Today. Tomorrow.


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