"Sometimes we love people so much that we have to be numb to it. Because if we actually felt how much we love them, it would kill us. That doesn't make you a bad person. It just means your heart's too big."
Fay, "Riding in Cars With Boys"
Years ago, I saw this movie and that line struck me and stuck with me. The movie is based on writer Bev D'Onofrio's memoir - teenage pregnancy and marriage, college denied, drug addicted husband, single motherhood. The line was delivered as Bev and Fay were smoking pot and discussing single parenthood while their children played in the yard perilously close to a pool.
Minutes later, Bev is pulling her 6 year old son from the pool he had just fell into. She is, of course, snapped back into reality, promising to be more attentive and responsible.
Those lines resonate with me because I am not, by nature, an emotional person. I am not an emotional mom. When my children were babies, I did not stare at them for hours or coo and ooh over them. I don't even think I cried when they were born beyond a few tears of joy. I do not think daily about how much I love my children. I do not feel how much I love them on a daily basis. It's as if those feelings are safely sequestered behind a dark, thick curtain rendering me almost numb to them.
There are times, though, when that veil between me and the love I feel for my children becomes thin. It is then that I am closer to truly knowing and feeling how much I love my children and my family and our life. And that happened Friday when 20 six and seven year olds were shot to death.
I can't even describe what it was like this weekend watching and playing and holding my children. Like many parents, I've choked back tears and still do as I watch them and let all those tears out when everyone is sleeping. This is why I have to be numb. I couldn't let my children leave my sight if I truly felt how much I love them on a daily basis.
This weekend, we just took it easy. We played with trains and read books and had movie night and made muffins and went to the museum. And I tried to forget that 20 mothers were facing the unimaginable.