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  • Click to view eecandrews's profile
    Posted December 19, 2012 by
    Bellmore, New York
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Newtown school shooting: Thoughts and tributes

    A First Grader's Heart


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     eecandrews, the mother of a first grader in Bellmore, New York, posted this essay Tuesday on her blog, Out on a Limb. 'I wrote the post as a means to sort through my own feelings. There were so many parallels. It could have been any of us. As a parent it was impossible not to feel some sort of gutteral response. As I wrote, I really did keep imagining my daughter and her classmates and the fear they must have experienced and couldn't shake those thoughts.
    - dsashin, CNN iReport producer

    This blog post was my attempt at catharsis and understanding something so incomprehensible. Sending love from the heart of one first grader's parent to sadly, forty others.




    A First Grader's Heart...


    First grade is a big deal.


    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 material 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.


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