Like so many others, I have had a rough couple of days. The Sandy Hook tragedy has shook me to my very core. I have always had trouble letting my babies be in the world without me but slowly, over the years, I have learned to let go and trust the schools and teachers with the most precious parts of me.
I had started taking their safety, while at school, for granted. Don't get me wrong, I have never been 100% trusting when it comes to other people and my children.....which is a key reason as to why I chose to get involved in their school. I want...and need...to have my finger on the pulse of their day to day lives but I could drop them off and leave them without the constant sense of dread.
But Friday, evil made itself known in an elementary school. In first grade classrooms. With children the same age as my daughter. My mind could not wrap around it. My mind tortures me with visions of my daughter, her friends, their teachers lying dead on the floor of their classroom. Their brightly colored art projects and the stacks of easy reader books all around their room. Desks, crayons, tiny chairs.
I see myself in the faces of the grieving parents. I cry for them, and with them. Their babies gone forever.
Those families woke up, ate breakfast, got ready for their days, kissed their children goodbye with promises to see each other at the end of the day. Maybe talked about the plans for the weekend. Of trips to see Santa, picking out trees, wrapping gifts. And then...in the blink of an eye, the beat of a heart....their children are ripped from their lives in an act so violent that I can barely breathe when I think of it.
There, but for the grace of God, go I. Go all of us. It could have been our school, your school, the school down the road.
As it turns out, I have a (tenuous) tie to Sandy Hook. The school superintendent is the mother of a friend of mine. Until Friday, I didn't know that. Until Friday, I wouldn't have been able to tell you where Holly's mom worked or what she did...or heck, what she looked like. I know now. I watched the interview with her, saw the pain in her face and heard the tears in her voice. I can't begin in imagine the heartache going on in Newtown, CT. I can barely handle the heartache going on inside me.
Those sweet babies. It could have been your sweet babies. It could have been my sweet babies.
I, along with so many others, have been changed and our sense of security when it comes to having our children outside the protective circle of our arms will never be the same.
But the trick in all of this will be to give the message to our precious children that they are safe in the world. That we will be there to protect them and keep them safe from harm...all the while knowing we can only do our best. The rest is completely out of our control. A tomorrow, I will put on a happy face and kiss my babies goodbye in the drop off line. I will say "have a great day. I love you and I will see you after school." And I will drive away from them, praying with all my might that they will be safe.
Onward we go. Changed once more.