The day passed quietly. Again, I was alone for most of the morning. I paced back and forth in the kitchen in tears. I tried again and again to get in touch with my friend who had done this before, but with no success. I was so very alone. I stared blankly out at snow drifting down - a few flakes lazily falling on a spring day spinning and dancing their paths to the ground.
Then the time came that the kids would arrive. The boys came first with the mom who had them. My daughter came about half an hour later. So for half an hour, the boys ran around the house excited at all the fun they had, laughing and wrestling. My friend and I stood in the kitchen and watched them. So happy, so bubbly, so unaware of what was going on over there.
Then my daughter came with my son's teacher. We went into the living room, and I told them I need to tell them something. Very briefly, I explained what had happened. Our pastor walked in right as I began. The faces of my two oldest children went white. My oldest put his head down and would not look up again. He struggled for control, and my heart ached for him. The second stared with his eyes wide and unbelieving. Then he began to question why God didn't stop this from happening. He could have, mom, you know! The third was quiet, staring off into space. After a few minutes, he scooted over to lean against me and cry. My daughter burst into wails and threw herself in my arms sobbing.
The younger two needed my arms. They both cried for a long time, but it was the older two who worried me. They sat stunned with white faces and I could not reach them. My son's teacher moved over to put his hand on my son's head and sit with him. We all sat and tried to answer the questions and comfort the tears, but how do you comfort in the unknown?
Fifteen minutes later, while my lap was still full of a sobbing daughter, the phone rang. There was a request of me - something I was needed to do to help someone involved in this. I didn't want to. Not then. But, the person needing help also had children, and his children's faces were white with streaked tears. So I picked up my sobbing daughter and plunked her down in the lap of my friend and went to the phones.
For the rest of the day, I was on the phone and skype. I would get a few pauses in there where I could check on the people caring for my kids. They did well. Another couple came to cook and play with the kids. The teacher left. My friend took my second son off to get some photo-copies that I needed. Our pastor spent some time watching my oldest who had taken off to the roof to get some time alone. People were there caring for my children, and I was grateful. But my heart broke for them, and I wanted to simply sit on the floor crying with them. I struggled with finding the balance between responding to the situation as I needed to do to get help and being a mom. It was a difficult balance, one I am still not sure I did the best at.