(Ed. Note: If you can believe, I’ve edited yesterday’s post. It’s a shame that I have this much material to work with.)

Last week of school here for the Nerdlets — excitement abounds with the promise of lazy summer days, getting out at 11:30 all week, and, ahem, exams. What’s wrong with this picture? Do you know how hard it is to get kids to focus on finals this week?

So I’m on the half-day plan with them. Due to really weird exam schedules, I’ll be picking them up at either 9:30 or 11:30 all week. At two different schools. And trying to work. And trying to keep them focused on studying for finals. And trying to update here. (Guess what’s going to suffer? Consider yourselves on notice. ) It’s going to be a wild week. But I’ll do it.

Because I’m their mom, and that’s what I do.

Now here’s where the mood of this post changes and things get serious. “I’m their mom and that’s what I do.” Because I entered into parenthood having thought it all out. How my life would change. How, for eighteen-to-twenty-one years, I’d be known primarily as someone’s mom. And I was fine with that. And I knew how difficult it would be, even under the best circumstances. And the circumstances weren’t always that great.

We endured our share of problems. Mr. Nerd was let go from his job, without notice, ten days before our first baby was due to be born. A victim of politics and the changing of the guard at the governmental agency he was employed by. He didn’t know he was supposed to ‘work the crowd’ to keep his job. He thought he was qualified and had done good work. Bam. Like a freight train, reality hit. Ouch.

And my heart broke.

Over the years, we endured more hardships. Family issues — my mom’s twenty-year health battles which required me to be there and not here many times. Unemployment. Not enough money sometimes. Stuff. We had our share. But I took care of things, because that’s what moms do.

But my heart broke.

We never let our kids suffer. And we never took it out on them. And this week, as I’m figuring out a way to clone myself so that I can be in three or four places at once, I’m reading two stories in our local news about folks that did things a little differently.

And again, my heart breaks.

Because a local man was arrested last week for beating a two-year-old to death. Potty-training. Kid didn’t cooperate. Bam.

And because this weekend, a thirty-year-old mom laid her two beautiful six-year-old twins on the bed and strangled each one. Then overdosed on some over-the-counter medicine. She’ll recover. They won’t.

Then there’s the mom and aunt who got annoyed with a ten-year-old boy for misbehaving in the car. So they made him get out of the car. ON I-12. Oh, did I mention he’s blind? Yeah. B*tches.

I’ll have to deal with the two murder cases for the next couple of years now, because of what I do for a living. All aspects of this case — the photos, the facts, the attempts to classify the killers as victims — will be right there in front of me. I won’t be able to turn the newspaper page or change the channel to avoid the horror of what these people did to those sweet, innocent babies. And I’ll see the parents that did things differently.

And I will nurse another broken heart. Because I’m a mom. And that’s what I do.