Moms Go From Sobbing To Dancing

I sob in a bathroom while my trio under 6 watches a cartoon in the living room. I watch the names. I just let the tears flow. I remember where I was. I remember my seat in an econ class with Dr. Richard Lanear. I was just thinking about how I needed to concentrate on taking notes, because his pants were distracting. They were polyester and had that starched precise line down the front. Like a military uniform. And he ran his class like we were his freshest recruits. When someone knocked on his door, he rolled his eyes. Late students were locked out. Who had the audacity to knock? He cracked the door and I remember waiting to see which 18-year-old was about to get it from a man wearing pants manufactured before our births. But he came back crying. “Go home. Go home and pray.” And he gathered his things. I remember running to my car. Driving right at the speed limit, but  running into my mom’s arms as soon as I hit that driveway. I remember my mom sobbing, but trying not to scare Micah and Nathan. Moms don’t get to completely break down when the world is falling apart. I remember the emails from a friend. Her fiance trapped. His last words to her. I remember praying they would find him alive in the rubble. I remember that they didn’t. I remember my brother enlisting. I remember his injuries. Cities and villages I will never see. Places I can’t pronounce. I didn’t understand then why he got nervous seeing litter on the road. Or why he couldn’t sit with his back to a door. I remember all those R & Rs. When he would catch up on all the missed sleep and my mom taught us not to wake him up. Don’t get near a sleeping soldier. They wake up scarier than they dream. And he still does. I remember hearing about the Marines who carried all the babies and toddlers from the Pentagon daycare and rounded them up to play safely. I remember learning it was a lie. When there are thousands of real heroes, who makes up fake ones? We don’t need falsehoods to feel good about an atrocity. We remember the real people who saved lives and dug people out and did a hundred heart-breaking things I will only witness during memorial specials. And I remember the heartache I felt about Benghazi. And the anger that followed and still follows. My brother and sister buried so many of their friends for more than a decade and Hilary Clinton still thinks she can become commander-in-chief. And I remember all of this in 6 and a half short minutes while I hide in our only bathroom. Sobbing and remembering and praying and getting it all out of my system. Because I get a few minutes for 14 years of feelings. Then I wash my face and go sing a Bubble Guppies song. Moms don’t get to break down when there are littles tugging at our yoga pants. But I sing that Bubble Guppies song as loud as I can. Because I’m alive when so many aren’t. “Line up! Line up! Line up, everybody, line up!” So many lost because they were at work on a weekday. And so many lost in all the years that have followed. Men and women who lined up and gave up their weekday jobs to do the hardest thing imaginable. And I sing and dance on the carpet. Just minutes after crying on our tile floor. Never forgetting.

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