I feel too much, empathize a little too much, sometimes. I used to look at this as a fault, but I've learned to accept it. It's who I am, and I think it's part of what makes me good at my job--both professionally and as a mom. Because of the "too much," though, sometimes days are a little too much; they have the potential to swallow me if I let them. Yesterday was one of those days.
I spent my professional day meeting with students, students who are drowning and can't or won't see it yet. My heart breaks for them. I can throw out the life preserver, but they have to grab it, and when they don't a little piece of my heart breaks. When that stops happening, it will be time for me to move on, but it makes some days so hard.
Midway through the day, I learned that another mama, a woman I never formally met but feel like I know, lost her baby boy, a little guy about the same age as Evan who is now the littlest super hero I know--whose life is now saving many, many others and whose mama taught me more about grace and courage than I can imagine. I grieve with her.
On the way home, I heard the headlines about Boston, and my heart broke a little deeper. I got home and watched the news while Issa played next door and Evan was still at school. I saw people rushing to help, tearing down barricades to run towards the danger and the hurting. I saw runners who I know were exhausted and hurting turn around and run back towards those still coming to warn them. I saw so much good and light, but my heart still broke. It was too much.
And then I went to get my little guy, anxious to hold him a little tighter, and I met his teacher at the door. She was on the way to the hospital. Her step-father, Evan's favorite teacher's husband, a man Evan calls Poppy John, had been badly burned in a lawn mower accident. All she knew was that his face had caught fire and she needed to get herself and the boys to the hospital quickly--just in case. I couldn't take any more. It was all just too much.
I fumbled through making dinner, hiding occasional tears from my blissfully unaware kids, collapsing into Brad's arms when he got home. On these days, I mourn and grieve with others but I am also unbelievably grateful. Grateful to be able to hold my kids a little tighter. Grateful to be able to protect them from all of the too much a little longer. And so grateful they can take away a little of the too much...because they see the magic everywhere and remind me to look, too.
This little guy spent his evening being a super hero smashing bad guys:
This girl finally lost that other front tooth and the Tooth Fairy came:
I texted an offer to come to the hospital and help with the boys only to learn the burns were amaingly minimal compared to what they should have been. Poppy John will be home by the weekend, in time for a very important grandson's birthday party. Miracles happen every day.
The too much can be heart-breaking, but it is also so incredibly joyful, magical, good.