Approximately two years ago, I fell in love. Not with my boyfriend, but with this little angel right here:
Her name is Josie Bella – she likes when I paint her nails and let her wear make-up, her favorite food is macaroni and cheese and her first word was “no”. In fact, shortly after she learned that word, she would put her hand on her hip like a little diva and wag her finger while saying, “No, no, no.”
For those of you who don’t know, my mother’s chosen profession is childcare. When I wake up in the morning, I can sometimes go down the stairs to see up to ten rugrats running around my kitchen. And although my mother “runs the show”, my brother, father and I always lend a hand whether it be changing a diaper or putting the kids down for a nap.
And, for that reason, I’ve never been big on kids. In fact, I would go so far as to say that at one point, I hated children. I never wanted to have children in the house – let alone in my future.
But one day, my mother called me downstairs and told me that we would be taking on new clients and I was to meet their son and daughter (although now, there is another daughter and she is also pretty freakin cute).
Josie was three months old when she entered my life and my heart. The instant I saw her, I felt something in my heart go soft and suddenly she was my whole world.
Before I knew it she was seven months old and just starting to get verbal. Her teeth were coming in and she was starting to take more initiative when it came time for me to give her Cheerios in the morning.
Next thing I know, I opened my eyes and suddenly this bald little bundle of joy I’d fallen in love with not even two years earlier was a walking, talking, curly haired princess in training. She is the best part of my day on the days I am lucky enough to share in her company…
Which is why what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday is so devastating not only to me, but anyone else who is lucky enough to have children.
Josie goes to school three days out of five – she colors, has snack time and sometimes kisses a boy named Adam on the cheek when the teacher isn’t looking. It could have been her.
When I heard the news, my heart did what everyone else’s heart did – it sank to the pit of my stomach. I quickly turned off the TV and went to the couch where she takes her nap and leaned my head against her chest to remind myself she was still breathing – that she was all right, that she was safe.
Many other parents didn’t have that same luxury and to them, I am eternally sorry. But I want to say something to everyone else who was lucky enough not to lose someone on Friday:
SHUT. THE. FUCK. UP.
What happened is not your excuse to promote your own political views with regard to gun control (no matter how valid of an issue that is and will become in the coming weeks). What happened is not a means for you to promote your ideas about how terrible society is. What happened isn’t a wake up call, an act of god, or anything else that you might think is clever or insightful enough to put on Facebook.
What happened is that some parents are staring at piles of Christmas gifts for children that are not coming home. What happened is that the parents of those children are trying their best to come to grips with what happened while camera crews and reporters are camped out on their lawns because they don’t understand what the phrase “no comment” means. What happened is that some parents are facing the reality that an extremist hate group might be chanting words of praise and excitement as they attempt to put their children into the ground.
So, the next time you think you’re being witty or funny…the next time you think that thought in your head is just so god damn clever that you can’t bear not sharing it for another moment…the next time you have the audacity to mock not only one, but two shootings that have occurred within the past year, think again.
The next time you want to blame society and the environment – take a look in the mirror and recognize the fact that instead of taking the time it took you to write such a senseless Facebook post, you could have said a prayer for all the souls going to heaven tonight, and all the souls that remain here – left to pick up the pieces.
This isn’t the time for change or revenge or political impeachments – now is not the time for gun control laws, psychological evaluations, invasion of privacy or interviews. This, right now – right this very second…this is a time for mourning. It’s a time for being thankful for what you have, and finding empathy in your heart for those who don’t. It’s a time for hugging your kids and loved ones…because you never know what tomorrow will bring.
So, tonight, I’d like to leave you with one of my favorite speeches of all time. For those of you who might not remember, Matthew Shepard was one of the first wildly publicized hate crimes in America. He was beaten by some men he met in a bar and left to freeze to death on the outskirts of town.
This is the speech his father made: