My friend called me late one night this week to tell me that the young woman in the news who was killed in an early morning collision was the waitress that took care of him and his buddies on their semi-regular breakfast gatherings at a local diner. She was in her 30s, he thought, and had just dropped off her two kids and was heading to work when the wreck occurred.
Tonight, while reading Facebook status updates, I learned that another mother of two small boys had passed away. She was an incredibly creative woman, volunteering untold hours to create photographic inspirational journals of mission trips, pouring her wisdom into her children, and supporting her equally gifted husband -- all from a wheelchair, or bed, or feeble stance because arthritis robbed her of ease of mobility.
I am not a mother. Never have been, never will be. But today I felt the incredible joy of having a three-year-old hold me tightly as we spun around until we were both so dizzy the world kept spinning even when we stopped. She loved every rotation and, even as she weaved and held my pants leg to steady herself, held up her hands to me, and demanded, "Do it again, KK. Do it again." Because I love her and the giggles our merry-go-rounding produced, I complied, and complied, and complied.
Later, I was overwhelmed with emotion as this precious bundle laid her head on my shoulder when she was momentarily overtaken by a coughing spurt and I comforted and quieted her. She held on that time with no doubt that I would be there for her and, secure in that knowledge ,she raised her head up, took my face in her small hands, and kissed me.
My brief experience today made the news of the loss of these two women even more confusing.
Children surrounded by love are fearless in their expectations. Children expect mothers to drop them off and be back to pick them up, to be behind the camera and in the photos, to comfort their ills and cause their laughter.
These are not unrealistic expectations.