After what happened to the kids in Sandy Hook, I have been very introspective. I catch myself watching my kids doing the most mundane things like putting on their socks and even standing back and watching them bicker before stepping in. I keep thinking about those parents who lost so much that day. I can't believe what happened. I just can't wrap my mind around it. I haven't been watching the news. The last thing I caught on the news here in France was a clip of some news program where someone was saying that if the teachers had guns they could have defended themselves. What? The only things I see now are what friends are posting on Facebook and even that I am not really reading. I just can't. It's too painful. I can't stop thinking about those parents who lost so much.
Maximilien caught me crying today while I was cleaning up the kitchen. He asked me why I was sad? He thought I was missing my mother as he knows that this time of the year is hard for me with the anniversary of her death just a few weeks ago and her birthday this week. But this time I told him that I was sad because of something terrible that happened in America. Keeping it very simple for him I just told him that many children had died and that Mommy was sad about it. Then he said to me, "They died and they are never coming back again. Their parents must be so very sad about that. If you died and never came back to me I would be sad too". His understanding of my sadness stunned me. It also reminded me that he was remembering a video we had watched a year ago about death. It was a clip from Sesame Street that I found to help explain where my mother was because he was asking a lot of questions and I needed to help explaining it to him. Apparently this video has gone viral since the tragedy in Connecticut.
Reading another expat's blog tonight about her thoughts about the tragedy and her closing thoughts about raising her family in Australia, got me thinking about how recently I have really settled into my life here in France and that I can't imagine raising my kids anywhere else. My life was different when I left the US to move to France. I was a newly wed and children were not even a thought in our minds at that time. For the first years living in France I thought that I would move back to the US, back to all the things I tried to cram into my suitcase during that once a year visit to see my family. Gradually, I crammed less and less things into my suitcase each trip back. Then my mother passed away and things like health care and job security and having a baby really preoccupied my mind. I started my family and then providing the best life possible for these little people in my life became priority number one. Life in France became the only life I knew... I know how to be a mother in this country. It's intuitive here though to people who live outside France may find it strange or difficult. Learning about this tragedy in Connecticut makes me sick with worry for my friends back home. Friends who have kids my kid's age. How could this have happened? What is going to be done so it won't happen EVER again? No one is really talking about what happened in the US around me. I breifly talked to Julien about it and he is at a loss of words as much as I am. Only one person has mentioned it to me about that news and it was a customer at the tea house. He asked me what I thought and I was brief with my response as it got my very emotional and he said to me in a very matter of fact fashion that something like this would never happen in France. Not knowing the statistics or even the actual gun laws here in France, I agreed with him. I just feel like this would never happen here. In the ten years I have lived here I have never heard of tragedy like what happened in Sandy Hook. He was trying to comfort me by saying that because he knows Maximilien is the age of the victims but am I wrong to think that something like this would never happen in France?
In any case, I find myself watching my babies sleep at night and I haven't been able ot get to sleep at a decent hour because I keep thinking about the parents who no longer have their babies. How could this have happened?