I was never really an emotional person. I wouldn't shed a tear over a sappy commercial or weep during a sicky-sweet love story in a movie. The news read the same years ago as it does today: scary, devastating, sick, sad and heart-wrenching. My heart, however, never seemed to fully wrench. I mean, I had feelings of sorrow and terror and all that, but I couldn't truly comprehend the level of emotion on which it seemed the rest of the people in this world operated. Until I became a mother.
When my best friends were having their first babies I naturally shared in the joy. It was an exciting time for them and for us as friends to be moving into another chapter of life. Only I wasn't moving. I was doing the same thing in my life - working hard Monday through Friday and playing hard on the weekend. I visited those babies and held them with a beaming smile of awe - but I didn't truly know how precious those moments were for my friends. And after years of feeling somewhat guilty about that I can finally state with authority that Nobody does until they become a parent.
Having a child in your life, in your care, needing you wholly everyday - it magnifies everything. When I became a mother I quickly realized how beautiful each moment of each day really is. How special, how tranquil, how precious, how amazing. Yes, even the moments where you have to raise your voice or wipe poop off of the wall. When you feel like you need to rip out a few strands of your hair, when you just don't want to clean up after another meal, when bedtime seems so very far off... yep, those moments too are precious.
I was deeply affected by the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre - and still am. And if I remain haunted I cannot imagine what those families feel like every day of their ongoing lives. I think about watching my sweet child standing on the school steps waving goodbye, Mama and walking out of sight - for the last time. I think about what those children were doing in their classrooms just before the horror entered. Raising their hands to answer questions... with sweet, smiling innocent faces. It's almost too much to even think about. It's so unfair! I continue to pray for those children, teachers and families and I pray that my friends and family never experience such tragedy and loss of life.
Yesterday's savage tornado devastation in Oklahoma makes those wounds fresher still as we hear about the loss of children in their elementary school. My heart was just aching for the parents not knowing whether their child was one that made it out safely or one buried among friends in the ten foot debris pile. How do they cope with that?? I know as humans we have coping mechanisms ... and adrenaline that kicks in and propels us through tough times... but really?? How much can a person handle? I absolutely cannot even begin to think about losing my baby girl. Not for one second.
My point in all of this is that when Scarlett entered my life she changed the game. She forced me to "level up." I became aware on a much larger scale of what love and need really mean. To truly need someone in your life to be able to function. To love someone with every miniscule spec of your soul. To understand compassion and to be empathetic and sympathetic. And that there is a much better way to go through life than being cynical and jaded.
Now, I get weepy during sappy commercials. I can say there are scenes from movies that "get me every time". I'm softer. Scarlett melted the ice... and I can't thank her enough for that.
Becoming a mother has also made me more generous with my heart. I offer it up all the time because surprisingly there is plenty to go around.