In The Midst of Mourning I Hold My Sons Tightly

by Katy on December 16, 2012 · 17 comments

Note: This post is now also published on The Huffington Post and can be viewed HERE. I would be ever grateful if you would write your comments, and share and “like” it on the actual HuffPo page. Otherwise, the post has zero chance of making it to the front page and being read.

Thank you.


It’s been a difficult three days for America, as we’ve gone from shock to deep mourning for the murdered children and staff of Sandy Hook elementary school. And however you feel about the growing debate surrounding gun control, one consensus has come out of this tragedy, which is to hold your kids tightly.

Appreciate the gift of life that is more fleeting that we can bear to admit.

So when I woke up yesterday to a kitchen full of dirty dishes, a mountain of laundry to put away and living room full of cat hair choked furniture, I asked my younger son if he wanted to go on a day of downtown adventures. (My older son was sleeping, and my gift to him was to let him continue with his favorite hobby as long as he wanted. After I kissed him a couple dozen times, of course.)

The chores could wait.

We chose to take public transportation, as we both have free passes, plus it frees us from the shackles of having to stay close to our parked car. We stopped first at the local Einstein’s Bagels to get a free pumpkin latte to share, as well as a toasted and buttered jalapeño bagel for my son, which we did not.

We stood in the rain and waited for the bus, and talked about nothing and everything and passed the overly sweet latte between the two of us. And I ached for all the Connecticut parents who had these future moments stolen from them.

No shepherding a child into adulthood, no shared coffee drinks, no worries about high school grades that will determine college opportunities.

My son and I wolfed down food cart falafel in the rain, browsed expensive European soccer magazines (him) and decor books (me) at Powell’s bookstore; ogled the couches at West Elm and Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams (me) and hunted through the clothing at Buffalo Exchange (him.)

We made a joint decision to check out the westside Goodwill and hailed another bus for the short yet uphill and wet journey. I picked up a few small things for my sister’s birthday and my son lamented that all the new looking Vans shoes were either too small or bizarrely overpriced.

The bus ride home ended with a long and chatty walk that included a detour through the holiday lighting of Peacock Lane and free slices of cake from a Walgreen’s grand opening. We were both good and tired by the time we staggered home, although I did load the dishwasher enough to run a single load. Our evening consisting of a couple of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes (me) and the newest Saturday Night Live (him.)

No laundry, no chores, just me staring at my son and holding him tightly.

And when my older son needed me to drive him far across town for a poker game, I did not whine about it. Even when he needed to picked up at 11:30 P.M.

For today I have these kids, and I will hold them tightly.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”
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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Linda in Indiana December 16, 2012 at 12:14 pm

As a parent and grandparent, my heart breaks for the families that have lost their most precious children. We all step back and hug and love those near and dear to us more tightly…hoping to never have to let go!


Tina December 16, 2012 at 12:16 pm

This made me cry. Thank you for this wonderful post, Katy. You’re the best.


Katy December 16, 2012 at 12:17 pm

I had to go get a handful of toilet paper to blow my nose while writing it. Very glamorous.



AnnDenee December 16, 2012 at 12:29 pm

I love you and your sons and all the babies who were lost in this horrible tragedy. I am struggling with this one even though I know to the parents of all the victims of similar tragedies, it was no different to them. Every human being is someone’s baby and cherished. And it is time to end the killing of our babies.


A. Marie December 16, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Although I don’t want to go into the circumstances in detail, I was tangentially involved in a situation many years ago that involved the murder of three members of one family and could have involved a shootup of a college campus if things had been even slightly different. Until we have evolved enough as a society to address (1) truly effective care of major mental illness and (2) our current insane gun laws, things will never change. Meanwhile, never, never take your loved ones for granted. There’s always the chance that an everyday goodbye could be the last.


Queen Lucia December 16, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Sweetly said.


Sharon December 16, 2012 at 2:42 pm



Amy December 16, 2012 at 2:52 pm

It is so sad that we get these occasional reminders of how fleeting life can be, but I am so glad that you are among the parents who heeded the reminder and enjoyed your baby. The busy-ness of life can get in the way sometimes. Such a blessing to make it wait.


kris December 16, 2012 at 3:34 pm



Jo H. December 16, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Yes, well said.


Bethany@OurSoCalledLife December 16, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Beautifully written, and an important reminder.


Lesley December 16, 2012 at 6:20 pm

Amen, Katy. I’m doing the same with my teens.


michelle December 16, 2012 at 8:49 pm

soooo many tears!!!! VERY well said. I hope all parents resolve to give even more love to their kids. I know I will. ps can’t wait for the share the latte days… my dughter is only 4. 🙂


Mary December 16, 2012 at 9:17 pm

Well said. I feel the same way and hugged my teen a lot more than usual today.


Cora Michael December 17, 2012 at 7:49 am

Hi, Katy! I love your website and this is my first time commenting.

I want to urge you and all your readers to write their elected officials (from Obama on down to those at the local level) to support stricter gun control laws. Here are two great websites, the first will help you find email addresses for all of your elected officials, and the second includes a petition demanding a plan to end gun violence (through the Mayors Against Illegal Guns website):




Shannon December 17, 2012 at 8:25 am

Beautifully, beautifully said.

I should have been prepared this morning for what dropping my 9 year old daughter at school would feel like, but I wasn’t. As she raced up the walkway towards the front door, her backpack swinging, surrounded by peers doing the same, I lost it. It just was unbearable and brought it all back home.


Hannah December 17, 2012 at 11:14 am

This is one of the best things I have read about this tragedy. Thank you.


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