It's innocence, earnestness and candor,
curious eyes and open minds.
It's the first step towards the land of big kids: exciting for children,
bittersweet for parents who wonder how their babies got so big, so fast.
We worry, wonder and encourage at the start of each new milestone.
We beg Time to slow down as we savor these waning little kid days.
First grade puts the world of books and language in their very own hands and opens
the door for new friends and experiences. Their perspectives stop us in our tracks
and remind us of how happiness is not tied up in things.
I met my own lifelong best friend in first grade.
Thirty years later, we are the mothers of daughters born one month to the day apart.
They are first graders.
I see their faces each time I think of those beautiful children.
My heart hurts at the thought of their parents' awful reality.
I want to wrap them up in my arms and cry with them.
My head can't help but go to a place that is brutally sad, where innocence is lost.
I want to make sense of this senseless horror, but
there's none to be had.
Perhaps if we all lived our lives with the heart of a first grader, our
world would be a kinder, safer place.
Perhaps the best thing I can do to honor their memories is to encourage
the peace in my own children's hearts and go forward each day with
more gratitude and pray that it's enough.
May they find the peace they so deserve.
May their parents feel our collective hearts in their time of unthinkable grief.