My heart is amazingly tender now that I am a mother.
Before little Reese Melanie entered my life — making me happier than I ever thought possible — incidents concerning children bothered me, but sorrowful thoughts didn’t linger. Now, all it takes is one AMBER Alert to get — and keep — the tears flowing.
It’s impossible to hear about kidnappings, accidents and cases of abused and neglected children without imagining my own little one in such a situation. And just the thought of that absolutely breaks my heart, hence the tears whenever I learn that a helpless youth has been mistreated or hurt in any way, shape or form.
The day of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December, I rushed home after work and proceeded to hold Reese all night long. Against my better judgment, I let her sleep snuggled between my husband and me. Sure, she thrashed all night and insisted on nestling as close to me as possible, wedging her little body firmly against my torso. I didn’t mind a bit, though. I was thrilled to wrap my arms around my baby, secure in the knowledge that she was safe and sound right next to me. Not wanting to wake Reese, I did my best to stifle my cries, wiping my eyes with as little fanfare as possible. I couldn’t help but think about those poor parents in Connecticut who were mourning the loss of precious lives, unable to cuddle with their babies.
The recent case of an 8-year-old Jacksonville girl who was abducted from a Walmart and found dead shortly thereafter also hit home. A registered sex offender has been arrested in connection with the crime. Hearing the news made me positively sick. Again, I could not stop the onslaught of tears.
Crime, in general, is an awful, unnecessary part of life. But people who prey on and hurt children are among the most despicable creatures on the planet. It’s sad to think they walk among us, and even the most cautious parent can’t fully protect his or her child 100 percent of the time.
Perhaps even more startling is illness, which strikes without warning. Last weekend, a mom I am associated with through a social-media forum lost her baby girl, who had been struggling with a debilitating medical condition. Although I’d never met this woman in person, I was overcome with emotion and sympathy for her family. I slept fitfully the evening I learned of her loss and have been thinking of her often every day since.
So, moms and dads, hold your little ones tight and savor every moment with them. Because, inevitably, some parent somewhere in the world is missing a son or a daughter, yearning for just one more hug, one more kiss, one more smile. I cannot imagine being in that position, but my heart goes out to those people, and I’ll never stop shedding tears for them.