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Goodbye

Charlotte, NC

Beautiful Charlotte, NC (Source: Flickr.com)

Dear Readers:

I’ve been strangely lax on publishing this post, which I wrote more than two weeks ago. I can’t really put my finger on why, but something has kept me from clicking that “Publish” button. I guess it can only be my hesitation to bid a final farewell to this most recent chapter of my life. Bear with me as I’m muddling through the transition, and thanks for your support.

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For five years, my family and I called the beautiful city of Charlotte, NC, home. Now, after a hectic fews days of moving, the time has come to say goodbye. How do I begin to express how much I’ll miss this place and the people I’ve met here?

Given the challenges we encountered while trying to buy a home in Ohio, what I expected would be a week or so spent away from Charlotte to house hunt turned into three. That left just one whirlwind week to wrap up my life in this city and say my goodbyes.

I didn’t get to see everyone I hoped to, and I definitely wasn’t able to bid farewell in the way I wanted.

I’m a pretty sentimental person. I don’t like change and I don’t like goodbyes. I didn’t want to leave grade school for high school, I didn’t want to leave high school for college and I certainly didn’t want to leave college for the real world.

Throughout this move I’ve reminded myself of this many times. I know it’s largely the change that’s making my heart so heavy.

The change. The goodbye.

In my last week, I met friends at playgrounds, went to sendoff dinners and attended our last neighborhood party. In these moments, I was light and carefree. I didn’t think too much about last times or last looks. I gave out hugs and promised I’d see my friends again.

But the reality is, I don’t know when.

My goodbyes to this city and its people have to be good ones. I have no work trips to bring me back, no unfinished business lingering to be completed. It may be a long time before I see this place again.

One of the hardest goodbyes was the one I had to say to our beloved first house. After we toured it together and declared our mutual love for it, my husband covertly secured it for us while I was out of town. When I returned, he surprised me with a picture and note, thanking me for my patience and welcoming me home.

First Home

We spent the first years of our marriage here. We brought our son home to this house from the hospital. We had first baths and first words and first steps here. We gave our oldest dog his first yard after a lifetime spent in apartments and brought home a puppy to join him shortly after.

IMG_0210

We ripped down wallpaper, renovated bathrooms, painted walls and installed an antique mantle in the living room. I hung light fixtures and ceiling fans with my own two hands (yes, I’m the handyman around these parts) and never knew how proud I’d feel once the jobs were done.

Living Room

This was our house and, to be honest, I had a hard time letting it go. During the week I had to say goodbye to it, I came to terms with just how strongly this house had gotten to feel like home.

I didn’t handle it well when the first pieces of mail addressed to the new owners started arriving. But, in truth, I’m happy for them. I hope they love the spectacular fig tree in the back yard as much as we did. I hope they strap young children into the tree swing and watch their little legs stretch toward the long, leafy branches. I hope their children color on the walls and that someone learns to ride a bike in the driveway.

And, selfishly, I hope they don’t cover up the Giving Tree I painted on our son’s nursery wall.

022_Bedroom

It doesn’t help that we don’t have a new home to go to. Despite making an offer or being close to doing so on five different houses, we’ve come up empty-handed. We have to start from square one and hope our new house finds us soon.

Until then, we’ll live with friends and family members, biding our time until we once again have a place to call home.

After the hectic week we spent packing, organizing and erasing our lives from this home, my husband and I took one last look and headed for the door with a little toddler hand clasped in each of our own. As we reached the front door, my husband stopped, put his arm around my shoulders and said, “This will always be our first home.” I promptly burst into tears.

Tears continued to roll down my cheeks as we stepped out onto the stoop and closed the locked door behind us. Our house was no longer ours.

As I held my son’s hand and took the first steps toward the car, the perpetually blue Carolina skies clouded over and a couple of fat raindrops fell from the sky. I looked up in disbelief: after two perfect days of moving, rain was moving in at the very moment we were moving out.

What did it all mean? Was the rain trying to compel us back through the locked door behind us? Should we race to the realtor’s office and call the whole thing off in a dramatic, last-minute change of heart?

No, I decided. That wasn’t it at all.

Here was Charlotte’s parting gift to me: a little touch of rain to make me forget just how lovely it usually is outside. The two perfect days preceding, the ease with which we sold our house, the rain moving in at just the last moment: everything was telling me that this was meant to be.

Still, I will really miss this place.

To all of you I met here, thank you. It’s been a great five years in Charlotte.

It’s time to say goodbye.

Here We Go Again

Baby On The Way

Hello, world!

Friends, the bump is back. Baby #2 is on the way, due December 2!

Now that all the initial feelings of fear, anxiety and nausea have (mostly) passed, I feel incredibly blessed to be expecting again. My son will have a brother or sister, and I know from experience that’s a wonderful thing.­

The first few weeks of this pregnancy were tough, which is why I’ve been underground for a little while. I’ve been dealing with a couple health issues, one of which is an autoimmune disorder and both of which cause fatigue and general malaise. Adding pregnancy exhaustion on top of that left me feeling pretty awful overall.

In those early weeks, I ignored what my body was trying to tell me and went into full indulgence mode. Like the first time around, I completely abandoned my healthy eating plan and started stuffing my face with whatever sounded delicious: cereal, toast, ice cream, waffles, pasta, butter, bread, sugar, bread, sugar, sugar, sugar …

As a result, I started feeling worse and worse. I was dragging myself around the house, barely functioning and not at all being the fun, attentive mom I wanted to be. I found myself feeling pretty negative about the whole pregnancy experience.

When life gets hard, nothing soothes the soul like a conversation with a good friend. For me, a simple phone call from a friend turned out to be a beacon of light in my time of need.

My friend reminded me that I can’t take care of this baby without taking care of myself. My autoimmune disease means that I have inflammation throughout my body, which flares up when I’m not following a healthy lifestyle. The most reliable trigger is unhealthy eating and — although I’ve been following an anti-inflammatory diet for the past couple years — I finally had to admit that I never fully committed to it.

Most importantly, I learned that my autoimmune disease can have a serious impact on the baby. That was enough to make me turn things around for good.

The morning after my friend’s pep talk, I went back to the anti-inflammatory diet I’ve been casually following, but this time with a vengeance. No wheat, no dairy, no rice, no corn, no sugar (!), no pasta, no cereal, no bread, crackers or cookies and only a limited amount of lean, organic meat. Processed foods, snack foods and even gluten-free substitutes are out. And, hardest of all: no coffee.

Despite the difficulty of coming off more than 15 years of unconditional love for coffee, I felt instantly better after quitting cold turkey. After feeling bad for such a long time, it was like coming out of a dark cave into the light.

This is not to say that pregnancy is all light and joy, of course. I’m not a terribly disciplined person and I fall off the wagon from time to time. I’m haven’t completely figured out which foods are best to include or exclude from my complicated diet, and my energy level is still pretty low. But there’s no question that I’m doing better than I was, and that makes it all worth it.

So you may be wondering after all this, what do I eat? Lots of fruit and veggies, beans, quinoa, green smoothies, salads, goat cheese and many cups of tea. I’ve found some incredible cookbooks and food blogs that have helped me and I’ll share the recipes I like over the next few weeks.

Hopefully I’ll continue to feel pretty good. Maybe I’ll even stay within the recommended weight gain this time around instead of blowing right past it. Just the other day my husband told me how good I look, cheerfully remarking, “You don’t even look pregnant from the front or the side. Just from the back.”

Friends, you win some, you lose some.

Pound of Flesh

Shiny, Happy Baby

My boy, back when he was still all shiny and new

Now that my son is 18 months old, I’m starting to get “the question.”

So, are you ready for another?

Another? My god, I feel like I just got done creating the one I have. People, I fabricated a human being out of thin air, and now you want me to do it again??

And yet, I do think about it from time to time. More than the little twinge I get when I see a mom cradling a shiny, new bundle, I think of the incredible bond between my sister and me and how I want my son to have that with someone.

Then I start remembering pregnancy.

The main thing I recall about being pregnant was feeling like my body was playing one humiliating joke on me after another. I had kept myself blissfully ignorant of the trials and tribulations of pregnancy, mostly so I would never be too chicken to attempt it. The downside of this approach was that I was completely caught off guard for all its inconvenient truths.

Everyone knows the pregnancy basics: your emotions go haywire, you gain a bunch of weight, you feel insanely tired and you barf from time to time.

I certainly wasn’t prepared for everything else.

You start off with the first few weeks when no one knows you’re knocked up. Despite your crushing fatigue and the fact that your clothes are getting tight, you pretend like everything’s normal. You don’t really look pregnant at this stage; you just look chubby. Most likely your co-workers have observed how many doughnuts you’re downing out of the community box and they just chalk up your weight gain to that.

Next, your sense of smell is heightened to a point where it could be considered a superpower, which would be cool if the person sitting next to you would stop eating curry for lunch and then throwing his leftovers in your trash can. Trips to the grocery store become unbearable. I don’t know who decided to put the fish display right next to the cheese aisle at my local supermarket, or if the d-bag responsible had any idea what he was doing to pregnant women, but it all seemed like a cruel joke at the time.

The only respite to the heightened sense of smell is the fact that your sinuses clog up, but your allergies go wild at the same time. And, as a possible result of all this, your nose gets bigger. I had actually forgotten about this one until my husband reminded me of it the other day. Thankfully, he was kind enough to clarify, saying, “It wasn’t so much that your nose got bigger, it was that your whole face got kind of puffy.” Ah, yes. Add puffy face to the list.

There’s your sudden hatred of foods you formerly loved, and your overwhelming urge to eat foods you would usually find disgusting, like a shriveled gas station hot dog or some slimy lunchmeat. Not to mention these are the very foods you are supposed to avoid thanks to the repulsive presence of listeria, which somehow doesn’t deter you from wanting them.

Let’s move on to bathroom time. Either you can’t go, or you can’t not go. Let’s just leave it at that.

Then there are all the wonderful things pregnancy does to your appearance. There’s the hormone-induced acne that pops up on your cheeks and along your jaw line. There’s the hyperpigmentation called melasma, also known as the “mask of pregnancy,” which causes dark patches on your skin. Mine conveniently showed up most prevalently on my upper lip, just where a lady likes to have a nice, dark shadow. Your constant sweating makes it impossible to keep your makeup in place. And, finally, your body hair starts growing at an impressive rate, which just feels like the icing on the cake.

What’s next? Ah, the constant crabby personality. During the time I was pregnant with my son, I’m confident most of my co-workers were humming the wicked witch song when I’d lumber past them on my way to the bathroom. God help the person who got in my way or asked me if I, too, thought the air conditioning was turned up too high.

As the months roll on, you start experiencing new and fascinating things like leg cramps, body aches, restless legs (not that you can sleep anyway) and lightning crotch. That’s right, lightening crotch. It’s real, and it’s freaking awful. Look it up.

Did I miss anything? Oh, your feet will get bigger, your skin will start itching like crazy and you will experience a complete and total loss of personal dignity.

Why on earth would I put myself through all this again?

Well, there was this one thing my son used to do when he was still shiny and new. He would look up at me like I was the most spectacular thing he’d ever seen, and then he’d blink this long, mesmerizing blink. His full lashes would fall to his cheek and linger there for a moment, and then he’d slowly raise his lids to reveal his stunning, bright blue eyes. He’d smile and gurgle and coo and stare into my eyes, and I would feel like the most magnificent woman on earth.

I guess when I think about the result, when I think about what a unique and funny and charismatic boy came from all that hardship, I realize that maybe there’s a reason pregnancy is so hard.

Perhaps, to receive such a mind-blowing gift, the recipient should be charged a pound of flesh, even if that penance is being applied rather than taken. It is a pretty miraculous outcome, after all.

Now, I hear my little miracle stirring in his bed and I realize he’s still pretty shiny and new, all things considered. He makes it all seem completely and totally worth the trouble.

But to go through it all again while chasing after a rambunctious toddler instead of lounging in bed with a bag of marshmallows? Now that’s a whole new consideration.

What Ben Affleck Knows About Companionate Love

Loving family

The day we became a family

Last night, as I was wiping the kitchen counters clean, my husband hugged me from behind and whispered in my ear, “you smell like … cleaning products.”

Things change once you have kids, that’s for sure.

My husband and I know this well, and after the comments he made in his Oscar acceptance speech, I’m willing to assume Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner know it too.

I, for one, loved Ben’s speech, in which he acknowledged that marriage requires effort and thanked his wife for doing “the best kind of work” with him for “10 Christmases.” Yet, I was disappointed to learn that the Twitter sphere has been widely panning him for his honesty.

We gluttonously devour pictures of our celebrity idols caught being “real”: schlepping groceries or going without a mask of professionally applied makeup. But when things get too real — when they admit that some parts of their lives are as complicated and unglamorous as ours — we’re disillusioned by the idea of them having something other than the fairy tale romance we imagined.

The truth is that no one does. Studies show even the most drunken, heady kind of love fades after an average period of about two years. And, the idea that love is a drug is more than just sappy songwriting: as researchers Arthur Aron, PhD and Sean Mackey, MD, PhD reported to WebMD, “feelings of romantic love affect the brain in the same way drugs like cocaine or powerful pain relievers do.”

When you look at it that way, it’s no surprise that passionate, new love doesn’t last. In order for a marriage to succeed, couples have to feel more than just love for each other.

Several years back, Time Magazine ran a fascinating article on the science behind love. In “The Science of Romance: Why We Love,” Jeffrey Kluger points out that couples in committed relationships must “pass beyond … the thrill of early love and into what’s known as companionate love.”

Companionate love. Doesn’t sound too thrilling, does it? And yet, there’s something really lovely about that term.

Companionate love is the stuff of 50-year anniversaries, of those elderly men who still see a beautiful young bride when they look at their aging wives. It’s the bond that keeps us together through the ups and downs of marriage, through the trials of raising children and as our physical attractiveness inevitably fades.

Admittedly, my husband and I weren’t the most exciting people before our son came along, so you can imagine how glamorous our lives are now. As a stay-at-home mom, my brand of stress is a quiet, droning kind that stems from the pressure of constant vigilance. My husband is in his first years of a commission-only career; his days are long and rushed, and he comes home wired and exhausted at the same time.

He wears a suit. I wear sweatpants. It can be hard for us to relate to each other sometimes, and it’s been a long, long time since the hazy days of giddy, new love.

I couldn’t do what he does. He tells me he couldn’t do what I do. Therein we find the most important component of our marriage: R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

We each have to work hard to make our household run. It’s not sexy, it’s not exciting, and it is indeed work. It’s the basis of companionate love.

For my part, I try to resist the urge to thrust our son into my husband’s arms or regale him with a story about poop just after he’s walked through the door. I give him a few minutes to change his clothes and take a few deep breaths. I try to have put something together for dinner and to have changed out of my depression robe by the time he gets home.

For his part, he greets each member of the household with a kiss and asks about my day, even though my response usually isn’t very interesting. He sits down in front of our son’s highchair and the dogs run to put their heads in his lap. He lets out a deep sigh, exhaling all the pressure and frustration from his day.

“I love you, wee man,” he says to our son. And I see him start to relax.

As for our connection as man and wife? Strangely, our son has been the best thing that ever happened to our marriage. He gives us a shared purpose, a higher calling, a source of humor and awe in every day.

We lie in bed and find ourselves at a loss for the words to describe how we feel about our son.

He’s … awesome. He’s just so … awesome, isn’t he?, says one of us.  

I know just what you mean, says the other.

This may not be the version of romance we want from our movie stars. It isn’t sexy or exciting; it isn’t the stuff of fairy tales. But if you look closely, there’s something profoundly beautiful in the simple, ordinary pursuit of raising a family with your life’s companion.

Companionate love may not make it into the movies, but it made it onstage this year at the Oscars. And that’s not too shabby at all.

Raising a Man

The Law of Pizzaplicity
Lance Armstrong, you owe me an apology.

I’m trying to raise a man here, and you’re not helping.

Raising a human being is daunting enough, let alone nurturing a compassionate, expressive, confident boy. Now that I have a son and have started to tune in to some of the issues and trends that affect boys today, this task seems even harder.

This past summer, I was watching our female athletes — Missy Franklin, Misty May-Treanor, Kerri Walsh and Gabby Douglas, to name just a few — kick ass in the 2012 Olympics. The program cut to commercial and a Nike ad came on featuring women discussing the obstacles they overcame in order to participate in sports. They spoke of being spit on and beaten up, insulted and dismissed, just because they wanted to play the sport they loved.

The ad and its message moved me to tears. In that moment, I felt thankful to be a woman in this time and in this place, and my heart swelled with feelings of hopefulness and pride.

The ad ended and — in an abrupt departure from the moving commentary on women’s rights — the screen shifted to three doofuses discussing “The Law of Pizzaplicity.” I found myself thinking, And … here’s what our boys have to aspire to.

Thanks to Oprah and Lifetime TV, we’re finally talking about the troubles facing our young women. Everywhere I look, I see strong, inspiring role models for our nation’s girls: Michelle Obama. Malala Yousafzai. Tina Fey. Hilary Clinton. Jodie Foster. Marissa Mayer. Lena Dunham. Betty White.

But what about our boys?

Lucky for us, my son is blessed with a strong male role model at home and in both of his grandfathers. But it scares me when I look at some of the men our society idolizes. Before long, my son will idolize them too.

So many of our boys’ role models showboat on the playing field; they lie, cheat and boast of accomplishments they did not earn. They objectify women and tear down people and ideas that scare them. They put monetary and political success before their families. And, possibly most concerning, they’re portrayed in TV and movies as lazy, helpless idiots while their competent female counterparts shake their heads and smile condescendingly.

Lance Armstrong. Tiger Woods. David Petraeus. Brett Favre. Chris Brown. Roger Clemens. John Edwards. Mel Gibson.

Granted, there are plenty of women out there doing harm, as well: Honey Boo Boo’s mom, those harpies on “Dance Moms,” Ann Coulter, Lindsay Lohan. Even Courtney Cox has let our nation’s girls down now that she’s had more plastic surgery than Chandler Bing’s dad.

The difference is that society has shined its collective light on the plight of our young women, and the increase in awareness seems to be working: According to the Pew Research Center, not only do women greatly outnumber men in college enrollment and completion, but women also have a more positive view of the value of education. This disparity is only projected to increase substantially in future years.

And if we can’t agree there’s reason to worry about our boys in light of the frightening increase in school shootings we’ve seen, I don’t know what it will take. Every single one of these horrific events has been perpetrated by a man. Every. Single. One.

When it comes to our boys, we’re turning a blind eye to some disturbing trends: violent behavior, emotional immaturity, low self-esteem. According to Dr. William Pollack, author of “Real Boys”:

“Many boys today are struggling either silently, with low self-esteem and feelings of loneliness and isolation, or publicly, by acting out feelings of emotional and social disconnection through anger and acts of violence against themselves or their friends and families. While academic performance and self-esteem are low, the rates of suicide and depression are on the rise.”

As a society, we need to stop championing athletes who never grow up, celebrities who debase women or minorities, politicians who lie with no ramifications. We need to agree that a change in how women are portrayed in movies and on TV doesn’t have to come at the expense of men. We need to speak out against a company who rewards an 18-year-old kid for skipping college and entering the NBA draft with an endorsement deal worth over $90 million.

Perhaps, if we start to change what we value, we can stem the tide of male role models falling from grace. Lance Armstrong is not solely to blame. Nor is Tiger Woods or our most recent athlete to publicly embarrass himself, Manti Te’o, whose father recently defended his son’s poor judgment by saying, “He’s not a liar, he’s a kid. He’s a 21-year-old kid trying to be a man.”

Soon enough, my boy — my precious baby boy — will be on his own journey toward “trying to be a man.” I see how closely he watches his dad. I know that, in time, he’ll widen his idolatry to include the athletes and celebrities we hold up as heroes, but who are really just men. By that time, I hope our society will be doing better for him than we are now.

Honest and Raw

Baby breakfast

A healthy start

Yesterday, a dear friend described my blog as “honest and raw.” As much as I valued the compliment, I hung up the phone feeling a bit sheepish.

I haven’t actually been all that honest with you.

There are some things going on in my life that I haven’t been writing about. And, I haven’t really been talking about them with most of the people in my life, either.

That’s a far cry from “honest and raw.”

Without question, there are parts of my life that are Hollywood-movie perfect. I am so thankful for my beautiful, funny, healthy son — I really don’t have the words to capture how grateful I am for his presence in my life. And, I’m truly blessed to have a husband who’s working extremely hard to allow me to be home with him, even though this situation creates some financial stress for our little family.

But.

I’ll dip my toe into the waters of honesty by saying I’ve been struggling a little. I’ve been dealing with a couple of health issues that have been making things tough for me, and I haven’t handled the emotional aspects of this as well as I could. Perhaps I’ll find the courage to write about this more. I think doing so would help me make peace with the things about me that are not as I’d like them to be.

What’s holding me back? The Internet is a big place. Once you put something out there, you can’t take it back. (Hudson, please remember this one day when you have a Facebook account.) When people interact with me, I want them to see me rather than what’s not right with me.

It’s a new year. Usually, I’m above New Year’s resolutions. To me, they’re a little like Walmart or the Kardashians: cheap, popular and lacking in substance. I turn my nose up at them and compare them to going on a fad diet rather than adopting a healthy lifestyle.

But the truth is this: I don’t like New Year’s resolutions because they’re hard. They require work and accountability and change. None of those things come easy.

And so, just nine days overdue, I’m going to make some New Year’s resolutions this year (cringe). Maybe I’ll even get the courage to make them public and force some real accountability on myself.

Here’s my first attempt: a healthy breakfast not just for my son, but for me as well. This morning we both started our day with a Nature’s Path Chia PlusTM waffle, topped with a compote of cherries, blueberries, raspberries and avocado and finished with a dollop of Greek yogurt. It was delicious, and a great start to our day.

Healthy breakfast

(Okay, I admit: he and I are both pretty hungry people, and this didn’t satisfy either one of us. He ate another generous portion of the fruit and yogurt, and I ate a second waffle with more fruit and yogurt and then ended up making some eggs an hour later. But, it’s a start, right?)

Here’s to 2013: a year of acceptance, a year of productivity, a year of honesty, a year of peace.

Or at least until I get tired of it.

For the Teachers

er, Teacher, What Do You See?

I don’t want to talk about what happened.

I don’t want to talk about the boy who walked into a school last Friday morning. I don’t want to talk about his motive, or his mental state or his actions. I don’t want to talk about our gun control policies or how we stop the violence. Certainly, these discussions need to take place. But I’m no expert and — for me — now is not the time.

I want to talk about the teachers. Therein lays the hope in this deplorable, devastating crime.

I didn’t know what to say about any of this, and didn’t plan to write anything on this topic. But last night, when I let my son choose his bedtime story, he pulled “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” off the shelf. We snuggled in to the cozy chair in his room, and he began paging through the book while I located his pacifier and got comfortable in my spot. When I looked up, he had the book open to the page covered with the bright, colorful faces of a classroom full of children.

Children,
Children,
What do you see?

He quietly pointed to the face of a boy, and then moved his little finger around the page from girl to boy to girl to boy. My eyes welled with unexpected tears as I whispered, “Children. Those are children.”

Next, he moved backward through the book, and the Teacher’s warm, knowing face gazed up at us from the page.

Teacher,
Teacher,
What do you see?

I whispered through tears, “That is a teacher. She helps the children.”

It is a horror to think of what those children and teachers saw that day. But it is an inspiration to think of what those teachers did that day.

Our society is woefully remiss in celebrating the men and women who shape our children. We send our nation’s young to classrooms like the ones in Sandy Hook every day, and in each one, there is an underpaid teacher pulling off a minor miracle. These people inspire creativity and curiosity in our kids while managing disputes, confiscating cell phones and administering discipline. It is truly amazing what they do.

Today, I want to talk about those heroic teachers who shielded the children from harm with their very bodies. I want to thank those who locked their classroom doors, kept calm and did all they could to keep their students safe.

Would I have thought to read to the children to soothe them? Would I have been able to keep my voice even as gunshots echoed through the halls? Would I have had the foresight to tell them I loved them in case those were the last words they heard? I doubt it.

At least for these first few days, let’s talk only about the teachers and the kids. Let’s remember them, honor them and mourn their too-soon departure. Let’s send our love to those who survived this horrific incident and turn off the TV so the media trucks will leave Sandy Hook. Let’s switch the channel when we see a schoolchild being interviewed, whether their parent allows it or not.

Let’s thank our teachers every chance we get.

Until I’m better able to wrap my head around the immense tragedy that happened last Friday, I will focus on the stories of heroism and hope. I will be thankful for the parents who saw their children come home unharmed and the teachers who made their school proud.

As for the incredible grief I feel for those parents whose children did not come home: I’m not yet ready to face it. It’s too awful to think about the precious babies who didn’t know such horror existed until they saw it. I’ll save that for another day.

Today is for the teachers.

Thank you.

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