Hi. Hugs. Long, lingering ones with extra squeezes. At least that's how I've been greeting people this week. Though a week has passed, this particular time span is measured differently, to me.
Last Tuesday was my birthday and we celebrated with a family meal of chip truck poutine and chocolate peanut butter ice cream cake. It was serene and fun and so, so filled of love. I looked back over the next few days and thought if that had been the last we saw of anyone who had been there, it would have been a great send-off. Because the next few days were a lot of looking back, thinking what if, reevaluating.
The shooting in Ottawa last week was jarring. My reactions have been all over the map. Immediately, we shut out TV and Internet, checked to make sure Rich was OK, and then made work out of staying calm and cultivating love. That was work for me, but the deliberate choice to keep fear out was my saving grace. Setting that intention helped me over the next few days to handle the overwhelming barrage of news reports. I needed, at times, to take it in, see it, read it, understand what my husband's colleagues went through. I watched and read in private and cried. But when it was go time, when the girls woke up and looked to me, I tried to show calmness, cuddles and patience. I thought that was he best antidote to fear.
The little girls have been missing their daddy's presence, but we've kept busy and stuck to routines as best as we could. Abby, my big girl, has been a shrewd observer. She has picked up on my tension, and has asked a lot of questions I have tried my best to answer without feeding her fears. She has been acting out, testing limits, having breakdowns and showing all kinds of signs that she is off-kilter. I sympathize. I've been short too, yelling at the end of the day, shushing little voices that all talk to me at once. We're all a little off, and any noble efforts to be calm and steady are fallible. Abby sees the fault lines and zeroes in. I hope we can be a family again soon, and begin to put our pieces back together as our city does the same.
I usually process things by writing about them, and this week a lot of that has been private. Superfluous thoughts like reminding myself to be graceful and appreciative of help offered from family members. Setting daily intentions. Figuring out if I am scared or worried or angry or whatever else pops up. It has all been a great exercise in keeping things simple. This week, housecleaning is falling by the wayside and I am not interested in committing to much beyond dinner preparation. The efforts to be a good mama, a good role model, and a supportive wife have been more difficult than usual. But that's my defense against the Parliamentary attack this week: making an effort to be my best self in spite of pervasive fear. I have five reasons to make that choice an easy one.