Mornings are often difficult here - too often, it seems, despite my best intentions and however much prep I do the night before, I find myself yelling at my children:
"Hurry up, hurry up! We're going to be late. Brush your teeth. Have you brushed your teeth? Do NOT sass me, Matthew! Luke, quit that - get your shoes on. Get your shoes on NOW!"
Sometimes I make them cry with my fury and my nagging and my impatience.
Some mornings, after I've kissed them goodbye and poured last-minute, guilt-laden love into their ears, I stand and watch them make their way into the schoolyard, watch as they're swallowed up by their friends and I think, "I do not deserve to be their mother."
And then I promise myself, promise them, in my heart, that tomorrow will be different.
Tomorrow, I will be the mother they deserve: one who is gentler and kinder and one who does not yell. Tomorrow, I will be better and there will be no rushing and there will be more time for cuddles and I will let them eat cake instead of cereal and I will not care if we're late because tomorrow, it won't matter so much.
Tonight, reading the news of 20 children dead at the hands of a man gone mad, I am heartbroken and ashamed because TODAY, for dozens of other parents, it mattered.
Today was the last day that another little boy's mother had the chance to kiss his freckled face and hold his growing hand in hers.
Today was the last day for another mother to stand and watch her son disappear into the safety of his friends and teachers.
Today was the last day for another Matthew's mama to pour hurried words of love into his heart, to whisper into her Luke's ear that she doesn't care if he eats his mittens, as long as they keep his hands warm.
My sons. My darling sons. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you.
Tonight, I will tumble you into your beds and I will sit and guard your sleep and thank God for one more day to be all that you deserve.
And tomorrow, I will thank Him again, and I will live up to your love, even as my heart breaks for another mother, someone else's father - whose last chance to do so....ended today.