December 14, 2012, I pulled into the daycare parking lot of which my son attends. Looking back, I watched as my son threw his “Mater blankie” off of his lap, grabbed his book bag and open his car door. He reached for my hand, so I could guide him across the parking lot. After I signed him in, I looked down at him. I smiled, and said “hugs and kisses!”. I proceeded to give him a hug as I said, “Have a good day”. I try to hold onto the hug long enough to feel it after the pull to remember it’s existence. Then I gave him a peck on the lips and said, “I love you”. He then willingly responded, “I love you too”.
At the same time that I was giving these hugs and kisses, I watched another parent send their child off. They walked in with a distance between them. After the mother signed the child in, they took a quick glance back at eachother as she was walking away to leave and blatantly said, “bye”. I felt sad for them. There seemed to be no connection, no bond, and no affection really between them. I tried to give her the benefit of a doubt that maybe she was trying to use an independent tactic. A tactic to send him off so bluntly that the child wouldn’t grant the chance to pull on her heart strings.
Right after my little kiss to my son, a child sitting at a table near us spoke up loudly, “Ew, you kiss your mom?!” These children were three and four years old. I couldn’t grasp why this was so hard to understand. I was initially offended that this four year old was calling me out. I wanted to snap back with, “I’m sorry your parents don’t”. Knowingly that my thoughts were too negative and harsh, I then switched it to empathy. However, it did make me question, is it too much to kiss a child on the lips? I know I can’t be the only parent that has that kind of bond with their child. I learned such habits through my parents, and I wasn’t ashamed of it.
I finally left, headed to work. I was a marketing assistant at a waste & recycling trucking company at the time. I sat most days in front of an excel sheet. With that kind of work, it left me with too much time to think. For some reason, those quick events that morning weighed on my mind. I couldn’t fathom witnessing such distant feelings and emotions between those children and parents. Maybe my kisses are a little extreme, but I never leave my son questioning everyday if I love him or if he’s still on my mind when we depart.
Later that day, I took a break from getting lost in Excel madness. I grabbed my phone and pulled up my Facebook account. My news feed was filled up with posts about a school shooting. I researched more about it to find that it was an Elementary school. These children were 6 to 7 years old. When I read about what had happened, it left me stunned in my chair, and I felt my heart drop to my stomach. All I could think about was that could have been my son. Sandy Hook Elementary school was one of the most heart breaking stories. I still think about it from time to time, especially as I worry about my son’s own school. My son’s school has been on lock down at least four time this year alone due to bomb threats called in, a person outside the school hanging nearby with a weapon, etc. I am grateful for my son’s school and the local police department acting so quickly to protect our children, however it is worrisome when receiving such automated phone calls without detail.
After this selfish act of crime happened, everyone threw out the phrase, “don’t forget to hug your children”. It took me back to that morning, with that parent and child who barely even glanced to say goodbye, and to the child who thought it was foreign to get a kiss from a parent. I gave my child a hug that morning, I gave him a kiss, and I genuinely told him that I loved him. I feel for those families that need to be reminded of this. I feel for those who have to take a tragedy to remind them of the love that they should already be giving and expressing naturally. I understand that life gets busy, but life should never take a simple affectionate gesture away from your child. Not everyday is promised to us, Sandy Hook unfortunately taught all of us that…