One week ago today, every parent in our country had their worst nightmare slam its way into the forefront of our minds, as we watched tragedy unfold before our eyes. Twenty-six families in Newtown, CT are dealing with unspeakable devastation and our entire nation has had their hearts broken. Speaking for myself personally, I’m still haunted by the images of those poor, beautiful children and will be for sometime. I’ve kissed, hugged, touched, smelled, snuggled and loved on my kids more in the past week than in most weeks before that horrible day. I have been shaken to the core, and life has been glaringly put into perspective, with my kids and family shining brightly at the top of the list.
In this last blog post of 2012, I had always planned to focus on my family. I am blessed beyond belief. But I realize that even more now than I ever have, as I have watched all week long as parents have buried their children, daughters have buried their mothers, sisters have buried their sisters. I. Can’t. Imagine. I don’t want to imagine. But in the past week, I couldn’t help but imagine. And I was brought to my knees more than once just thinking of what that grief would be like. So, this last blog post still has the same focus, but in a different light. Because, life is sacred and if I’ve learned anything in this past week, it’s that we should all spend our brief time on this Earth with the people who make our lives worth living.
To my parents, if I said it every day for the next 100 years it wouldn’t be enough – thank you. Thank you for giving me life. Thank you for being there for me. Thank you for loving me with all of your hearts – as a parent, I get it now. Thank you for being the most amazing grandparents. Thank you for giving me the best sister anyone could ever ask for. And now that we’re all adults, thank you for being such great friends. I only hope that my kids will look up to me like I look up to you. I love you.
To my sister, I am already crying and I haven’t even typed anything sappy yet. I don’t know if there are the words. Thank you for being you – so different than me in all the right ways, but enough of the same that you understand me and love me and are my best friend in the whole world. Thank you for putting up with me and working so hard with me and being such a special person in my kids’ lives. Thank you for marrying a guy who turned out to be the best uncle and brother in law, and friend to my husband. Thank you for being you. That’s just going to have to do it. Thank you. I love you.
To my nephew, thank you for your smiles. Thank you for making Aunt Steph feel special with your goofy little sign. Thank you for your innocence. Thank you for your sweet baby smell and perfect slobbery kisses. Thank you for letting me have all the fun aunts get to have without the work of parenting. You bring me joy each and every time I see you. I love you.
To my husband, I know all the thank yous in the world won’t make up for the amount of laundry you’ve done in the past year. I am so impressed with how you have stepped in and made the Saturday dance runs, done the laundry, made dinner and not complained too much in the process. Thank you for always knowing just how to make me laugh. Thank you for being such a great daddy and the best partner. I love you.
And to my children, you are my life and breath, my heart and soul, my purpose and reason for being. When you were born, pieces of my heart took up life in each one of you and will stay with you for eternity. If I don’t do anything else in my life but raise you to be happy, healthy, kind, loving and successful people in this world, I will have done enough. You won’t know the depths of my love for you until you hold your own babies in your arms, but know that you will always be my babies and I will always be here for you. Always. I love you more than there are words to say.
This time of year is about love, family and remembering why we do everything we do. This year more than ever, we all need to take a minute – more than a minute – and give those extra hugs, extra kisses, say those “I love yous” and just be grateful for all we have.
Thank you all for sharing your families with me during this past year. I truly feel that each and every one of you holds a special place in my heart, and I wish you the absolute best this holiday season. Kiss your kids, hug your loved ones, say I love you. Be grateful. Merry Christmas everyone, Happy New Year, and I can’t wait to see you all in 2013. Lots of love.