It’s OK to eat Lucky Charms for dinner. It’s OK to recognize how lucky we are.
My news feed was filled with the article. The headline snapshot was clear about what happened.
I knew everything in just the few words they gave me.
I’ve been here before. We’ve talked about this.
We as in me, myself and I. We’ve talked about not reading these news articles. We’ve talked about shutting the TV off when the story is just too much.
Too tragic. Too real. Too unjust.
As moms we are given an abundance of resources when it comes to how, when and why we expose our kids to media. We set dates for introduction, we set time limits, give our kids reward media time. We even learn about how to talk to our kids when media is scary.
Media depicting real life and sometimes real tragic scary life.
But I missed the lesson for us as parents. I missed the memo that when you become a mom that you put all those tragic news stories, those real life horrific events through your own family filter.
You think about the parents and the children. You think about your life. You think about your children.
I knew. Over and over it kept appearing in my news feed.
And another emerged.
It was getting too real. Click. And I was gone.
I sat at my desk sobbing. Tears pouring over the words.
My chest felt heavy, like on those cold Minnesota days where you can barely breathe. I slowly exhaled with my hand over my mouth.
My husband and I met at Eckerd College. He was a member of the Search and Rescue Team. We used to fish under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.
The biggest piece, the part that made me stumble is that we have a 5-year-old daughter.
I read those horrible words about how her father threw her little body over the bridge and what did I do? I pictured her sweet face, I imagined her life as a young girl, I thought about her sweetness, her innocence, how she probably liked Frozen, princesses and cupcakes.
I tried to make sense of the tragedy but you can’t make sense of a tragedy, that’s why they call it a tragedy.
But I can be grateful. I can feel lucky. I can squeeze my babies the minute I see them and not let go.
After I emerge from one of these news articles or TV programs I buy Lucky Charms for dinner. It’s happened a couple times now and has oddly emerged as a comfort food for me. Sure I love those little marshmallows but for me there is some weird notion that for just a small moment I as a mom, can recognize just how lucky I am and do something well, we rarely ever do and that’s eat cereal for dinner.
After this most recent horrific event, I returned home with the kids from school and unloaded my grocery bag with the cereal. My husband had already plated dinner and I said, “No, we’re having Lucky Charms tonight.”
He looked at my swollen red eyes and knew because he saw the story too that day.
With just that look he knew. He hugged me and I just stood there. Winter squishy coat and all and I just cried. I cried for that baby girl. I cried for the unreasonableness of it all. I cried because I had my babies.
We are lucky.
Just steps away from the dinner table, in the kitchen we stood there holding each other out of view of the kids. Just comforting each other thinking about those brave rescuers, that sweet girl and the beautiful life that was lost. And then we felt our sweet girl. Unaware she even knew what was going on, she was there hugging us too. Wrapped around our legs she just stood there hugging us.
It’s OK to Eat Lucky Charms for Dinner.
It’s OK to not know how to process the evil and tragedy that exists in our world.
It’s OK to run these stories through our family filter because then we truly know how very lucky we are.