What Six Looks Like!

A friend shared this with me and I wanted to share it with you…

I am not really a major cryer. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I cry–when it’s appropriate to do so.  Funerals. The occasional wedding if it’s particularly beautiful or meaningful. Schindler’s List. Things that normal people cry at. I am definitely not an over-cryer. I don’t cry at commercials or cheesy Hallmark movies or at the drop of a hat. And, when I do cry, there’s usually a beginning and an end. I cry. I get it out. I stop. Normal crying.

However, since I first started to understand the magnitude of what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday morning, I have cried a lot. I cried when I heard the terrible news. I cried when I went to pick my son up early from school. I cried when I told my husband what had happened. I cried when I talked to my girlfriends about it. I cried at church when we prayed for each victim by name. Off and on for going on three days now, I have cried. And this is despite going out of my way to not watch anything about it on TV or read too much about it online. I’m actively trying to avoid it, but I still find myself crying more than usual.

I mentioned this to a friend last night and she said that she couldn’t seem to stop crying either. When I asked her why she thought that was, her answer was, for me, a revelation. She said, “I think it’s because we know what six looks like. We see it every day . . . in all its glory.” And she was right. Because, you see, this friend and I both have a six year old child. I, a six year old son. She, a six year old daughter. Both are in first grade. Both, I imagine, so heart-breakingly similar to those twenty kids who were so brutally and senselessly killed on Friday morning. And we do, indeed, know what six looks like. We do see it every day. In all its glory. We see the good, the bad, and the ugly. The beautiful and the infuriating. It’s in our face. We live it and breathe it.

We know what six looks like. We know what it smells like. How it can go from the fresh scent of shampoo and soap to the musky aroma of “dirty child” in what seems like minutes. How it resists getting in the bathtub . . . and then resists getting out half an hour later. How sweet its hair and skin and clean jammies smell when it sits on your lap and asks you to read it a bedtime story. We know the unmistakeable fragrance of the occasional accident in the middle of the night caused by too much milk and no last-thing-before-bed visit to the toilet.

We know what six looks like. We know what it sounds like. How it cries and whines. How it sings and laughs. How clever it is and how much more clever it grows every day. How it sounds out words on signs as we drive past in the car and how happy it is when it gets them right. How annoying it sounds when it teases its little sister and how kind it sounds when it soothes her when she falls down and hurts herself. We know how lovely the words “Mommy” and “Daddy” and “I Love You” sound in its six-year-old voice.

We know what six looks like. We know how it tastes. How picky it is. How it thinks chicken nuggets or macaroni and cheese are gourmet foods. How much it loves candy and cookies. How it tolerates broccoli and carrots. How it absolutely abhors brussels sprouts. How it thinks french fries are a vegetable. How it thinks chocolate milk was created by God himself. How it thinks pizza is its own food group. We know that six is happy when it finds “I love you!” written on a napkin in its lunch box at school.

We know what six looks like. We know how it feels. How big it’s getting. How fast it outgrows its clothes and how it’s no longer a baby, but not quite yet a big kid. We know the weight of six in our arms. How we can barely carry it anymore, but try anyway because we can’t quite bring ourselves to accept the truth. We know how easily six gets its feelings hurt if someone says just the wrong thing or if this friend or that one doesn’t want to play with it or it gets in trouble at school. We know the velvety softness of six’s skin. We know the still-silkiness of its hair.

Yes, we know what six looks like. We know six’s gap-toothed smile and its gangly arms and legs. We see how it jumps and dances. How it twirls and runs. We know how funny six is. How absolutely charming it can be. We know six’s terrible jokes. We know how obsessed it is with “Minecraft.” We know its crooked “S” and its backwards “3.” We see how it teeters on the cusp of the world of books and all the joys of reading, but how it’s not quite ready to fall in yet. We see how six can’t decide if it wants us to stand beside it or not. We watch it take two steps towards independence and one step back towards us every day. We know how sturdy and strong six is . . . and yet how frail and fragile.

We know what six looks like. How beautiful it is. How precious. How brightly it shines with promise. How much it looks towards the future . . . toward seven, eight, nine, . . . How much it looks like forever.

We know what six looks like and can only in our worst nightmares imagine how devastating its loss in this senseless and evil way would be.  We can only barely imagine the wreckage and the despair and the utter hopelessness that would be left if six were brutally and suddenly taken from us. We know we couldn’t bear life without it.

Yes, we know what six looks like. And we know that, to us–like it must be for those other mothers and fathers in Connecticut–six is the whole world.

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15 thoughts on “What Six Looks Like!

  1. I live with a seven and a four. I know what seven and four are like. I watched seven get on the school bus today, held my breath and said some prayers. This post is so true — and so devastating, as I continue to reflect on why it was written.

  2. This is so touching. I am not a someone that cries at the drop of a hat either, but have found tears in my eyes a lot over the last few days. You hit the nail on the head. I don’t know what 6 looks like, but I do know what 4 looks like…….and I know that I do want to know what 5 and 6 and 7 and so on look like.

  3. Lisa Richards says:

    I live with girls, twin sixes, a two, and a ten, and I couldn’t have put to words why I have been so weepy. It’s not my norm. But you did it, thank you, and now I put words to the tears through the prayers.

  4. Very well written.

    And so very true. When the Giffords shooting happened the little girl killed was 9 yrs old, the same age of my daughter at the time. I remember kissing her head as I tucked her in that night and weeping for the mother who couldn’t do the same with her own 9 yr. old. I watched my child in the days after, and kept that other mother in my mind as my child did all the normal 9 yr. old stuff…

    This story affects us all, it affects us parents pretty hard, but it really hits home when you watch the same aged child run about your own home.

    Heavy heart.

  5. Yes, well said. As the mother of a 6 year old and two former 6 year olds (now 8 and 9), this is exactly why I’m so torn up about this as well. Innocence. I feel for the parents and grieve as if they are my own children.

  6. Reblogged this on A Note From Dad and commented:
    In the aftermath of last week’s deadly shooting in Newton, CT I have been at a loss for how to put pen to paper the thoughts in my head. If I had tried, I could not have done it better than this. As your dad at this moment, I know what 13, 5 and 3 look like…and these words resonate so deeply within me.

  7. As a mother of 3 grown sons and grandmother of 3 boys, these where my thoughts when I first heard about the shooting. How anyone ca justify taking the life of a precious child, when those children are so innocent and have the whole world to look forward to boggles my mind. I know what it is like to work with these little children on a daily basis, as I did it for a number of years. It truly is incomprehensible to imagine the pain and sorrow their parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents and friends must feel. We need to stop the sale of guns that have the power to kill so many people, those guns should be for the military and police, not the everyday person. Make sure to hug your children and grandchildren on a daily basis, regardless of their age, for we never know what danger maybe around the corner awaiting them as well as us. Thank you Elizabeth for putting into words your thoughts and emotions so wonderfully.

  8. jlue says:

    Tears are a language God understands. “You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book?” Psalm 56:8

  9. Thank you for sharing. As a Momma to a 7- and 4- year old, this was heartbreaking to read…but so true. That is exactly what we all have to do…pay attention to every little detail…every glance, every hug, every funny little thing that is said. Engage each day with action words. That’s what every parent everywhere is trying to do right now. Thanks for stopping by my blog space. Looking forward to reading more!

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