I heard crying even before I saw it. Katie’s cries carried down the stairway…

Mommy! Matthew broke his Buzz Lightyear Christmas ornament!

In her hands, she held Buzz. In three pieces. Matthew trailed behind, with a look of guilt on his tiny face and tears in his eyes.

It’s okay, Mommy will fix it, I promised.

And I could see immediately that she doubted my ability to put Buzz back together again.

It won’t work, Mommy. It’s totally broken.

I reassured her that I would find a way and my mind immediately tried to figure out how. Would I need Super glue? Or should I dust off my glue gun? Or would this require some type of special epoxy? And what would I use if none of those worked? Perhaps Buzz would never be the same, but I was certain that I could get him pulled together and in one piece. What would it say about me if I merely threw my hands up in the air because fixing it is was too difficult?

Sunday evening, I listened to President Obama speak at the vigil for the victims of the Newtown tragedy and his words resonated in my heart.

If there’s even one step we can take to save another child or another parent or another town … then surely we have an obligation to try…We can’t accept events like this as routine. We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change.

We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true. No single law, no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society, but that can’t be an excuse for inaction. Surely we can do better than this.

Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard?

Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?

Of course I’ve heard it all before.

We all have.

Guns don’t kill people, people kill people, they say.

Stricter gun control laws won’t fix this country.

Perhaps they’re right. Perhaps there’s nothing that we can do to make this country completely safe. Or perhaps it will be a combination of things that come together to help us move forward.

But if we don’t even try, we can be certain of that.

As the daughter of a man who was shot and killed nearly forty years ago, I ask you, what do we have to lose?

As a mother of two who will never be the same after the horrific tragedy that ripped through Newtown, Connecticut, how can we not try?

The solution may not be perfect. And our fractures may always be visible, but don’t we owe it to ourselves, our children and each other to try to figure out a way to fix all that is broken?


  1. Marian

    yes, Nichole, we do. yes. it's our collective responsibility, it's our individual responsibility.
    hugs across many miles to you.

  2. Cameron

    I echo Marian's reply. Right down to the hugs.

  3. Kathy West

    Nichole, I am once again in tears..your words are so elegant and touching. I also have been affected by the violence of guns. My uncle shot and killed his wife (my mother’s sister) when I was teenager. It forever changed my trust in people, and the notion that only “bad people” do bad things with them. Years later as a mature adult I understand the laws and want nothing more then to try… Merry Christmas dear friend.. Hugs Kathy

  4. wantapeanut

    So simply and yet powerfully stated, Nichole. And the president did a pretty good job too :)

  5. yuliya

    We all must do better we all must try. Great post Nichole, thank you.

  6. Sherri

    Powerful words, sweet friend…I am so very glad you put your thoughts together and shared them with us.

    Much love to you…xoxo

  7. @KellyTirman

    no words.

  8. angela

    Exactly this. We have to try. We owe it to our children and to ourselves. xoxo

  9. Ann

    I want so badly for this to be the moment that changed everything.

  10. Mandy

    I pray this tidal wave of grief changes the landscape, that we stop speaking in sound bites and talking points and work together to prevent this from ever happening again. I'm tired of our flags being flown at half mast. I'm heartsick over the ever expanding list of names. And I'm frustrated over the belief this is a partisan issue. This is an American issue and as Americans we need to fix what's broken.

  11. Tonya

    Such a powerful and moving piece. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your beautiful words. I wish more people thought like you. Sending you miles of smiles and warm hugs. xoxo

  12. MommyMiracles

    Perfect. This post is absolutely perfect. I hope we never stop trying to put back together the brokenness.

  13. findingourwaynow

    I was moved and thought about my own broken ornament. I think it time to mend it and remember. Thank you. :-)

  14. Janeen Bailey

    We are a 4th grade classroom in Austin, Tx and we enjoyed reading your blog. We are working on developing our own writing and our focus right now is small moments. When did you know you wanted to write? Were you always such a good writer? How long have you been blogging? Lastly, do you have any advice for my burgeoning writers?

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