The Aftermath

It’s Friday and I am fortunate to have another guest blogger. My guest today is Penney whose blog centers on her life as a working mom. She is a divorcee and raising her son Jake on her own.

Journey on her blog for a little while and you will discover her inner weirdness. I have enjoyed a number of journeys on Penney’s blog. I especially like those posts that focus on her sports obsessed son. I have found that he and my son have much in common (sports obsession is not one of them.

For those interested in learning more about Penney’s professional services, check out her website – site

It seems that enough time has passed since the tragedy of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings that the feelings wouldn’t still be so raw. However my emotions remain frayed. I can’t seem to get past this tragic event. I continue to feel the aftermath of what happened in that tiny town.

Before the shootings occurred, there were some days when I felt like Bill Bixby from the old TV show The Hulk. When my 9 year-old son wouldn’t listen, I would repeat myself to the point where I would end up screaming to get his attention. There were many days when I would say under my breath, “Don’t make me mad. You wouldn’t like me when I’m mad.” The situation would escalate from there.

I never laid a hand on my son but boy could I yell. After the yellingfest ended, the guilt would set in. I promised myself that I would work on my behavior. But within days, something would set me off again, and I would yell. I felt terrible for reacting that way towards my son. “What are you teaching him? What is he learning from this behavior?” I wondered.

I tell you what he learned. He learned how to yell back at me.

So, while in the end, I always got what I asked for, I paid a cost. Was it worth it to feel this guilt to make sure he stopped messing around in the shower or finished his homework?

But then came the Sandy Hook Tragedy

I cried for days after it happened and was shaken to my core. I felt pain for the loss of children I didn’t know. I had to stop listening to the news. I couldn’t look at the pictures of those sweet innocent children who were just 3 years younger than my own son. And when I looked at my son, I could feel the tears starting to swell up in my eyes. My nose would start to twitch with that familiar feeling of a big cry coming on.

About two weeks after the incident, something inside of me snapped. I took a good look at my behavior and how I was reacting towards my son.

We were spending a Saturday together at a busy park, and my son was trying to get my attention. I can’t remember what I was trying to do, but my son was trying to grab my arm to hold my hand. I kept swatting him away while I was doing whatever it was that was so important at the time.

And then came the aftermath. I thought about those Sandy Hook parents. How many of those parents acted like this before they dropped their kids off to school that day? How many of those parents wish they had their kids trying to get their attention?

I could feel my nose twitch and the tears coming up. I stopped whatever it was I was doing, and I reached for his hand.

That was the day things changed in our house.

No, that moment has not turned me into a perfect parent. I still get mad and feel like The Hulk. However, now I remove myself from the room to cool myself down before I say something I’ll regret later. And if I do find myself yelling at my son, I do my best to apologize to him immediately for my behavior.

I have come to understand the effects the Sandy Hook tragedy had on me. It’s like the father from the Expedia travel commercial said “… and in that moment I realized … that’s my boy … this is my life and I’ve only got one of each.”


17 thoughts on “The Aftermath

  1. Great post! A true tragedy it was and yet perhaps something beautiful can come of it. Perhaps many parents have hugged their children tighter, cherished them more, spent a few more minutes with them and reflected on how this would affect us. I know I am one of them.

  2. very well written, beautiful post. I believe many of us after this tragedy felt the same way. I spent days thinking about it and hugging my son after it happened. Glad you are able to leave the room and calm down, it is difficult for a parent to do this sometimes when your kid is misbehaving.

  3. I went through something similar not long after the tragedy. I can relate. And I’m a better (not perfect) parent for it. Although I’m still saddened by the way I came around to this new behaviour.

    • Its great that you have taken positive action. It still is so hard to think about this situation and the horror those families are going through.

  4. It’s a blessing and a curse to know that the tragedy of losing those poor, defenseless children has made us softer, somewhat kinder, group of people. May we never forget what lessons we’ve learned from that – allow us to hold our children closer, value the time with family and friends every chance we get. Life is so precious – it should be treated that way.

  5. Pingback: The Aftermath: A Guest Post « My journey to live an authentic life

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