I didn’t cry this morning watching the bus pull away with my children. I began to well up, but I didn’t cry. I sucked it in and didn’t let myself. I kept it together, like I know I should and feel I have to, because falling to pieces every time you catch a glimpse of the news, or a school bus, or your children, is not healthy or helping.
I want to move on.
I want to hide it away in the back of my head behind so much banal mental clutter, like picking up milk or sewing a button on my husband’s coat, that I can barely find it.
I want to write about the class pictures that I just got in the mail. My 10 year old’s is amusingly bad in an almost clichéd way. I grimaced when I saw it and immediately filled out the form for a retake. When he came home a few days later, and I asked him how it went, he just shrugged. “Oh, I forgot to do it.” I looked in his back pack. Of course, there was the form crumpled on the bottom of his bag. He didn’t care, but some day, I thought with a laugh, he’d somehow blame me for his too long hair and braces, or I could use it for blackmail.
My seven year-old son’s class picture is gorgeous. His huge, green eyes are wide with hope and eagerness. He looks full of discovery and innocence and a touch of elfin mischief. He looks so young, so fresh, just growing out of baby and into boy. He looks perfect.
I want to go back to simple stuff. Normal stuff.
But that seems not only unthinkable, but callous and horrible. How can I move on, when there are people who will never move on, who will never have comfort? For them, life will never be simple or normal again. There are no retakes. Their class pictures are the last ones they’ll ever have. All of those children are forever captured at that moment of sweetness, youth and possibility.
This afternoon, the bus pulled up and my kids came bounding out.
I want to move on because I can.
I want to cry all the time, because they can’t.