This photo and this caption were my morning:
After I got them off to school, I ran a few errands. Pants needed to be exchanged and dried mangoes needed to be procured, among other things.
On my way home from the strip malls, I stopped by the restaurant to pick up my tips. I walked in and said hi to my people and as I took the money out of the tiny manila envelopes my eyes filled.
"I'm going to cry," I said to my boss. "I need fries."
"I'm on it," he said, and within seconds, potatoes were turning into medicine.
The tears never fell over the edge, but my voice wavered mightily and I struggled to remain composed. I told my boss, who is also my friend, about some sadness - some big, deep sadness that hasn't crept in for years and, today, decided to set up camp for a bit.
I can't really talk about the why of the sadness here. Because some stories aren't only mine, and because I'm conscious of my desire to employ discretion, respect, and kindness. I'll say here only that family histories would make thicker books than the histories of many small countries.
And so I puddled up, emotional-ate an alarming number of gorgeous French fries, and drank a double shot of espresso. I flipped through the latest issue of Bon Appetit and ogled the photos of the farm-to-table farmers. And I walked out of that place feeling lighter (despite the fries).
Because that place is my place and those people are my people and there's a hell of a lot to appreciate in that.
I picked up the kids.
I told them they were going to get to sleep in bed with me tonight, just because I wanted them to. They squealed with delight.
Isla fell down and was dripping blood from her knee. I soothed her and wiped her and cleaned her. I mothered her in the ways I know how.
I cooked a simple meal while they watched a Someone Got Hurt Show. While things baked, I perused Instagram and noticed a story about a family I've never met. I don't know where they live. They are a beautiful family, just like mine and just like yours.
And this family, this set of parents, they lost their son last week. He looks to be about four. He went to catch a Frisbee and got hit by a truck and that little boy, Ryan - he died.
And so I read about this horror and I thought about my morning and I thought about my sadness from earlier in the day. I thought about the mother I am and about the children I have and, as is always the case after reading about tragedy after irreversible tragedy, I wanted to put my babies back into my womb. Because they were safe there. Because there were no trucks there. Because the love I feel now did not yet exist when they were still inside of me and because sometimes that Bigness Of Love is almost too much. Because the thought of having it taken away - of having them taken away - is so absurdly unbearable that you can't even really conceive of how Ryan's mom, Jacqui, will go on.
I let them eat in front of their show and I sat on the couch beside them. Osi, I noticed today, has a small lump on his neck. He also has a scratchy throat and so I'm confident that this lump is simply a swollen lymph node. This has happened before; I'm choosing to keep my panic in check.
We read stories together in my bed, and I told them about Ryan. I explained what our new rules will now be regarding the road - not because they're not safe, but because accidents happen, and we can only control our own actions.
They asked questions and then we held hands and sent our love from our middles out to Ryan and his parents.
They felt the gravity. They felt the loss.
They fell asleep, sweaty and heavy beside me.
The love tonight - it's overwhelming.
I'm surrendering to it, to the uncertainty of every moment, to the not knowing what comes next.
And I'll write on every inch of my house if it helps me remember what matters.
Lisa Leonard is a jeweler who's created a necklace to honor Ryan and his family. $5 from the sale of every necklace will go directly to the family. My neck is insisting on one - click here to get one, too. #redballoonsforryan is the hashtag connecting their story throughout the interwebs.