In our room, there’s a little collection of things that belong to the boys. I keep it on the dresser by the door to remind myself to return them to the nursery or to their play area where they belong.

Little socks that find their way into our laundry.

Toy cars left behind by constant tiny-foot traffic.

Teething rings for those dreaded canines.

Little things that continue to accumulate until I return them to where they belong.

I can’t stop thinking about the Uvalde parents. The parents that sent their children to school without realizing they’d never come home.

The parents that probably have these same piles scattered around their houses.

Little socks. Toys. Binders.

All strewn about the house exactly as their children had left them.

And instead of walking past it and seeing another chore, it’s a painful reminder that they no longer have a child to pick up after. A reminder of the little feet that used to run around that space, smiles and laughter that echoed through the house when playing with those toys.

I can’t shake these thoughts. I can’t stop thinking about these parents and these children.

As a former educator, my heart breaks.

As a mother, my heart’s in pieces.

So, I continue walking past these piles with a grateful heart. Grateful that I have happy, healthy, messy children to clean up after.

I continue soaking in every detail of their little faces and the way they laugh and the way they smell.

The impact this tragedy has had on me is immense.

I grow increasingly more aware that I cannot protect my children from the evils of this world forever.

And I know something’s gotta change.

Lord Jesus, fill this place.

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