Today, as I celebrate both child #2 5th grade graduation and child #3 Kindergarten graduation, I do so with such a heavy heart. The news of the child at DisneyWorld last night did me in.

It started with waking up on Sunday morning to the horror that happened in Orlando. I can’t even. It brings me back to the day of Sandy Hook. I was paralyzed with fear that day – I’m not sure I have really ever gotten over the horror of that day. I had 2 children in an elementary school. It took everything I had not to go take them out of school and keep them home with me forever. I believe it was one of the most horrible days, next to 9/11, that I could remember. Such unimaginable pain. I can’t imagine, and I pray never to, what those parents went through. The fear, the pain, the loss. I still cry today just thinking about it. Seeing our President cry over those children, just really hit home to me how horrible this crime was.

Then the mass shooting in Orlando this weekend. All those parents losing their beloved children (even if they are adults). Then the child being snatched by the alligator at Disneyworld last night just did me in. Too much horror and bad news. All I could think of was my children. What those poor parents are going through. You are excited to go on a fun, family vacation, and you end up coming home without someone. Horrible. Terrible. Unimaginable.

I had a hard time sleeping. I kept thinking about our last trips to Disneyworld. We had a 2-year-old boy on our last trip. We stayed at one of those DisneyWorld resorts with a beach. We played on those beaches as a family. We have pictures of us having a great time on those beaches. We sent our kids on a Pirate Cruise, where they played with Cast Members on those beaches (and went on a small boat in those waters). I vividly remember my 2-year-old running on the beach to the ice cream shop, excited to get ice cream, after a long day, but enjoying the sand on his way there.  I never considered Alligators at the Happiest Place on Earth. It never crossed my mind (it should have in Florida, but we don’t have alligators here in Oregon). That 2-year-old could have been anyone’s 2-year-old. There but by the grace of God go I. That sweet child. Those poor parents and siblings. My heart and prayers go out to them. It’s horrible. My heart breaks for them.

Seriously, my heart aches for all these parents. What a horrible week in Orlando. I want to sit in a corner and cry – just like I did with Sandy Hook (I seriously pretty much cried for a week). I hugged my kids a little tighter today, the now 3-year-old is getting more attention than he would probably like today. I am grateful for them – each one of them. Times like this make me want to wrap us all in bubble wrap and never leave the house. But I know we can’t. That is not living and enjoying life, as much as I would like to. My heart is hurting and sad for all that is lost. I pray all these families find some sort of comfort in these tragedies, and that our country tries to put aside our differences and learn to love everybody – no matter their race, religion, or lifestyle. Everyone is someone’s child, brother, sister, mother, father. We are all Children of a loving Heavenly Father. If we could honestly, truly just love one another, despite our perceived differences, what a wonderful world this would be.

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