Empathy

I’ve cried for other people’s children twice today. First, on my way to work listening to a radio telethon for our local children’s hospital. Then again now, reading the news of the horrible tragedy in Newtown, CT.

Before I had kids, when I heard stories about sick children or tragic deaths, I felt bad for the families involved, but I didn’t get that pit in my stomach that I have right now. I loved my family and my friends, yet the love I have for my children is unlike anything I’d ever imagined. A parent’s love goes so deep, and I would do anything to keep them safe and happy and healthy.

Along with the love I feel for my own children, I feel protective of all kids, knowing that they have parents who feel the same way about them as I do about Avery and Clay. The empathy I have for other parents has also multiplied. I cried today for the parents of the sick kids here in San Diego and those of the kids at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Even the survivors go through more than any child or parent should have to deal with.

Avery was whiny this morning. I was irritated with her and the hospital telethon made me realize how lucky I am to have a healthy child. I was stressed about a work deadline before hearing about the school shooting. The news quickly reminded me that things could be so much worse. Who cares about work? Clay is safe at school. Avery is too. I am heartbroken for the parents who took their kids to school and went on with their day, in very similar ways to me. Their kids were supposed to be safe, but they weren’t.

I’ve seen calls for gun control and mental health policy discussions, but today isn’t the day for it. Just hug your children and think of those parents, who, just like me, wanted nothing more in life than happy and healthy kids. I have that. My kids are everything to me and I am praying for those who, today, lost their everything.


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