Grace and Parenting After Sandy Hook

My next Blogging friend is Stephanie from Hugs Kisses and Snot.  She is down right lovely!  She is kind and creative as she is always up to something amazing over at her place.  Today she shares a powerful message that I am sure you all will understand and relate to in many ways.


Grace and Parenting After Sandy Hook

It’s been nearly two months since Sandy Hook.  We’ve cried, mourned, been angry and started getting political.  But life has picked up and moved on.  Christmas decorations have been stored away and we are already anticipating spring.  America has started their resolutions and some of us have already abandoned them.  While the rest of us are moving on there are 26 families who are frozen in time.  I can’t help but think about these parents who must find a way to continue with life.  How in the world can they get out of bed in the morning, let alone send their other children to school?  Just last month the magazines in the check out line at Target were staring me down.  Time magazine (or which ever magazine it is) with those 20 precious faces staring at me, daring me to think, what would I do, how would I carry on?  Now the publishers have already moved on to the usual fare of ridiculous celebrity gossip and weight loss tips.

Did you see the magazine in the check out line with those little faces?  How in the world did that phone call to those parents go?  “Hi, this is editor for Check-Out-Line magazine.  We’re so sorry for your loss but we would like permission to put your child’s picture on the cover of this month’s issue.”   What the what?!  If I looked at it even for a moment my mind puts my own precious 8 year old’s face in the mix.  The emotions start swelling and I have to turn away.  I have to turn my emotions off because if I allow myself to think about it I would become a blubbering mess as I try to unload my grocery cart.  Then I start feeling guilty for turning away.  Tonight my babies will be snug in their beds, but those parents have empty beds in their houses.  My life goes on as usual and theirs will never be the same and somehow that gives me a sense of hopelessness and helpless.  Hopeless because that is my gut reaction to how I would feel if I lost one of my children in the way that they lost theirs.  Helpless because I know those parents will go on suffering while the rest of us get to hug our kids when they come home from school today.

The Sunday after Sandy Hook was the baby dedication at our church.  It’s always a precious time and I always get a little misty eyed.  There is a congregational response in which we all say,  “As a congregation of God’s family, it is our sacred obligation and privilege, along with these parents, to enfold these children in our affection and continuing care….  We pledge to forgive them in error, and protect them from all that is evil and unjust…”   When I said those last words, protect them from all that is evil and unjust, my voice caught in my throat and I nearly lost it.  There is evil in this world and sometimes we can’t protect our babies from it and what in the hell am I supposed to do with that?

So what do we do now?  I’m sorry to say that I’m at a loss and I wish I knew the answer.  We will have to have difficult discussions about gun control and mental health services and security in schools and who knows what else.  We will continue loving our kids, cherishing them and leading a normal life.  But what about those families that will never be the same?  I suppose the rest of us will get back into our normal routines, the kids will drive us crazy, time will pass and Sandy Hook will start to fade in our memory.  Just like Aurora and the shopping mall and Columbine.  We can’t live our lives in a constant state of anxiety or we will just spin our wheels and cease to become productive, loving parents who produce anxious, high-strung children.  Can we lead normal lives but still remember the parents that grieve?  The best I can come up with is Grace says “yes”.  Grace allows us to love our families and allow our hearts to break a little for those suffering loss.  Maybe we can’t travel across the country to hug those parents and bring them a hot dish but maybe we can do that for someone right in our own communities.  Someone is suffering right under our noses; we don’t have to look far.  Rather than tell them about the love of Jesus what if we showed it.  It’s something to think about.

How are you moving on?


Stephanie Clinton is a SAHM to two boys ages 8 and 3.  She loves their hugs and kisses but does not love wiping their snotty noses.  In her past life she has been a Gymboree teacher, an activity director at a retirement home, a business manager and a celebrity sighter.  She likes to think of herself as a pretty decent cook, artistic, crafty and sort of okay with a sewing machine.  Stephanie and her husband have been married for 12 years.  The first 7 years of their marriage was spent having fun in Los Angeles but they knew it was time to come home to Oklahoma after their first son was born.  In her free time (if there ever is any) she can be found reading, volunteering in her community, cross-stitching, singing, avoiding housework but most of all blogging about her stay-at-home adventures.  Visit her at

Here are some other posts that might interest you from The Mom Cafe Five Values I Hope to Teach my Children and Boys Pee Everywhere.

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  1. says

    I just hope that, as a country, we don’t go back to our normal lives and just forget all about this. We’ve got to do something. If we don’t try to take some kind of action, or adopt some common sense measures after this, I guess we never will. 🙁

    So glad you wrote about this!

    • says

      I completely agree! I’m praying that we can have a civil and productive discussion as a country regarding gun control and mental health services (or lack there of) that will lead to action.

  2. says

    Oh. My. Goodness! Grace allows us to move forward although we are saddened. Like you, if I allow myself to ponder the massacre of those babies and victims and the emptiness their families must feel, I start to lose it. Everyday I take my 5 year old to school and see the uniformed officers on campus, I remember Sandy Hook because those cops are there because of Sandy Hook. Thank you for keeping those children and families in mind. May we reach out to our neighbors and try to heal their hurt. Blessing.

  3. says

    Thank you for keeping those families in your heart. When we become complacent to those suffering around us is when our society suffers as a whole. I keep asking myself…what would Christ have us do?

  4. says

    I still hold faith that there is more good in the world than bad. Unfortunately, this is not the first unforgettable tragedy we’ve experienced. We need to keep writing and keep having conversations about gun control, making sure mental health services are available, keeping out kids safe, etc.

  5. says

    I’m so glad you wrote about this. I started to wonder if I was the only one still thinking about this constantly. I totally agree with you and hope this is not forgotten so we can finally, finally have a discussion about gun control and mental health. If now is not the time, I don’t what else has to happen for us to fix this.

    • says

      Sabine – so true about now being the time to have this discussion. How much more suffering are we going to inflect on each other before we figure out the answer? It’s a really tough question to answer and we’re all never going to see eye to eye but there must be a common ground.

  6. says

    Love your blog name – it’s true. I have vowed not to let Sandy Hook become just something in the rear view mirror. I have not been actively involved in the anti gun violence movement, but have decided it is time, and I’ve joined the group One Million Moms Against Guns. It’s time we have a real conversation about guns. There is also another new organization called Sandy Hook Promise, and they are doing some great things too.
    Enjoyed your post.

  7. Tammy says

    Thank you for sharing. I truly believe that grace also allows us to carry a part of each other’s burdens. Maybe that’s what we weepy moms are doing when our eyes catch sight of those babies pictures on a magazine and our hearts break clear in two for the parents with Christmas presents left behind by the child they’ll never see again this side of Heaven. I know the pain I feel for them is not wasted. Maybe God is allowing me, in that moment, to bear even the tiniest amount of their burden to lighten it just enough to be almost bearable to get out of bed that day and care for their other children. I may never know, but I think maybe it’s true.

    • says

      It’s so easy to take the little things for granted. It’s important to take a step back from the hustle and bustle every day to give thanks and appreciate those we love.

  8. says

    Acceptance that there is evil in this world, but good will always win. Find better ways to protect children, in their homes, schools and churches. Prayers for our children, each day, every day and forever.

  9. says

    Worry can drive you nuts as a parent. I fear not only the big stuff, like illness and guns, but little things, like playgrounds and friends with cigarettes. The only thing I know is to keep them close, play with them, annoy them, and, did I mention, keep them close?

    It’s not a cure-all by far. But it’s the only think I know to do.

    • says

      Yes…keep them close. As close as possible. And I ask the Good Lord every day to protect them. Not sure if this would change anything…but it sure helps to know it’s all in His Hands if I place them there.

    • says

      I struggle with keeping them close and letting them spread their wings. Whatever happens, I make sure I’m there to kiss every scraped knee and every bonked head. I hope that they will learn that they can come to me for the little things now and hopefully they will still want to come to me with the big things as they grow up.

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