June 12, 2016
Dear Andie & Nolan,
I am writing this letter as I keep checking in with you on the monitor while you sleep. We spent the day inside today. Usually in the mornings I am gently awoken by one of you, but this morning I rolled over to my phone beeping “Several people killed in Orlando night club, multiple more injured.” as a breaking news alert on my phone. My babies, today 50 people were killed and another 53 were injured because of a hate crime & terrorist attack.
You are 3 and 1.5 years old. In your short lives, there’s already been several mass shootings. Our world is plagued by words “terrorism” and “hate crimes” leading our headlines. 50 people died senselessly today and I refused to let the around the clock coverage plaster our television for you to see. You’re too young to understand or process these horrific images. I played CNN on my computer and kept checking in for updates. I felt sick. I kept staring at both of you, wondering if this world you’re growing up in will ever change.
As I hugged you both and held you through out the day, I thought of the parents, just like me, who held their babies years ago and have watched them grow into adults… being told their children are gone. I imagine they are desperately begging that this is all just a bad dream, that their babies haven’t actually left the earth. I can imagine they’re replaying these exact moments i’m experiencing with you now in their heads - nourishing, holding, rocking their baby, carefully holding their hand through adolescence and then setting them free into the world only for them to be ripped away. We briefly went out to pick up dinner tonight and I was thinking… how is life just going on around the world, “hello, how are you tonight?”, people just going about their business. This shooting today has deeply resonated with me. I’m furious. I’m sad. I feel helpless.
Just as much as this isn’t about me or you, it also is. My hope is that both of you will accept others for who they are regardless of who they love & spend their lives with. There is no “us” and “them”. There is “we”. We are all human with a desire to love and be loved. My hope is that by the time you are old enough to read and understand this letter, this hatred has passed and we have learned to coexist. But I am fearful things won’t change fast enough.
My wish is that both of you express your love. Tell people in your lives often how you feel, show them. If you have an instinct that someone is feeling lonely, or unloved, reach out to them. All humans have qualities worthy of being loved. Be the one to recognize it. Be kind. It’s something I am working on being better at every day.
I want you both to understand something. Even with the most horrific & awful tragedies, there are good people and I believe we, as a human race, are inherently good. I cried today as I saw hundreds of people lining up to donate much needed blood. I heard stories of heroic actions as strangers helped each other, lifted each other up, used the shirt off their back to help another’s wound, hugged and supported each other. Our nation’s first responders are facing war-like conditions when these tragedies unfold. They’re running in when I am not sure I would have the courage to do anything but run away. There is absolutely hope in this despair. There was one evil man today, but hundreds of heroes.
Andie & Nolan, my wish is that the senseless killing ends before either of you have the capacity to understand it’s happening. As I stared at your innocent little faces today, I wondered how anyone could have it in them to kill these people who were just out enjoying their freedom. I couldn’t help but put myself in the position of those parents, those sisters, brothers, friends, loved ones.
I love you so much and I wish I could keep you safely tucked in this cocoon of our home. But I know I can’t, and I hope I am gifted the blessing of watching you grow and live full and content lives.
As I go to bed tonight, I’m wishing I could do something to help ease the pain of so many suffering tonight. I hope they know I am standing with them, hurting for them, thinking of them, and sending my love.
It’s been a tragic day I will never forget. And when I think of today, I will think of us, in our jammies, safely tucked within the 4 walls of our home as I replayed the interviews and awful images and thought desperately about everyone’s lives who changed in a split second because of hate. May you both always empathize, support, encourage. There is love & courage buried under these disgusting acts of hate. Love always wins.
Love you forever,