This morning brought many challenges for me. The biggest was pulling off a routine morning with the kids and taking them to school. As we drove, I gently reminded them that they would probably hear talk about what happened at the school on Friday. I told them that it was far away from here and they were safe at school...all the while knowing I was lying. Safe? What is safe anyway? Our school doesn't lock doors. There are signs to remind you to check in at the offices but honestly? There is nothing that would give anyone even the slightest bit of reassurance that they are safe at school.
But then - my grandmother's words replay in my head: "Locks are only for honest people. If evil wants in, it will find a way."
Sandy Hook had locked doors. A security system. But evil found its way in anyway. Through a broken window. If evil wants in, it will find a way. Indeed.
As I drove up into the drop off lane, I noticed people I have never before seen. There are always adults out waiting to help kids get safely from cars to the sidewalk but today there were men in uniforms, official patches on their jackets. The fire department for our small town was out in force, circle the buildings and greeting children. Usually I kiss Kaylen from inside the car, today I was compelled to get out, wrap my arms around her, kiss her and hold her for just a moment. I found my cheeriest voice and told her to have a good day and that I loved her. I watched her walk away from me, towards the uniformed med on the sidewalk. They greeted her, offered her a sticker and off she went. I watched her small little body growing smaller as she walked towards her classroom door. The terror rising inside me. Be safe, little one. Oh please be safe.
I took a deep breath, climbed back in the car and headed next door to Kelton's school. I repeated the scene with him and off he went, avoiding the firemen. Into the building he walked and, with tears in my eyes, I drove to the far end of the parking lot to exit.
I was greeted at the far end of the parking lot with fire trucks, ambulances, the fancy truck the fire chief drives, and other vehicles. Nothing as simple as activity buses for sale were parked there. No - all first responder vehicles. All there to try to reassure parents that their children are safe.
It was both stunning and reassuring. When did it come to this? Oh right. Friday morning when evil visited an elementary school.
And we will never again be the same.