Friday my kids were in school. They're in a JK/SK-split classroom. They're four. They're in a class of children between the ages of 3 and 5 years old. My children, and the children they share their day with, are all amazing and wonderful children. I cannot help but imagine the horror of this happening to my own precious babies...all of those children who are still just full of love, and wonder, and who still believe the world is good and kind.
I was taking a nap with our little one, and it was one of those naps where I spent half the time just laying there, thinking of how lucky I am to have the kids I have; the life I have. And when we got up, Little Daughter asked for Dora, so I turned the tv on. I was immediately plunged into something no one should wake up to. The news of another school shooting...one that claimed the lives of children just like my own. Children who were still in that stage of life that makes them completely innocent, easy targets for violence.
It took my brain about 30 seconds to comprehend what I was seeing, and I immediately changed the channel to cartoons for Little Daughter, until I could get her distracted with colouring behind the couch. (Out of view of the tv. I know she's too small to understand what "school shooting" means, but my kids are NOT exposed to that kind of stuff, no matter what.) I turned the tv down, and put on a cd of songs about teddy bears that has been sitting here since the beginning of time, and I tuned back into the news. My heart almost exploded, and I checked the time. 1:40pm. Older Daughter wasn't in school. She was safely with Daddy at a Dr.'s appointment. But The Boy was still in school. I had to change it. My mother's heart couldn't take it. I was between panic and tears...I don't think it's something any parent wants to see when they know a piece of their heart is still at school.
My son came home safely, of course, at his usual time. Of course he did. That's not their school. But it didn't stop me from standing at the bus stop 10 minutes early, just waiting for him...just to get him away from all of that, back to the safety of our house as fast as I could. When he stepped off the bus, I picked him right up and hugged him for way too long, and he told me I was squashing him to death. I was just so...thankful...so very thankful that he was home and safe and hadn't had to live through that horror.
I am sure I'm not the only one who wanted to just grab my kids and run...run... But where do we go? And what exactly am I running from?? It didn't happen here. It didn't happen to them. But it certainly DID remind me why I wanted to homeschool...one of the main reasons I wanted to homeschool. Children cannot be killed in a school shooting if they're not in school.
I wish I could say that I have regained my senses, and realized something that has taken away my fear. But I have not. I have to send my kids to school again, as it's the last day of practice before their Christmas concert later in the week. I have to send them because I cannot zip them in a bubble. I have to send them because my fear may be rational, however it could quickly become very irrational if I hide them from the world. I have to send them because it didn't happen here. It wasn't their school. I cannot show them the terror I feel because I do not want to raise them to be afraid. I want them to be aware of the world we live in...but not today. Not at four years old. For now they need to believe in good. They deserve to believe in it, because it exists. Even in the middle of chaos, it exists...
But, it isn't going to stop me from never being able to take a nap while they're in school, ever again. I will never be able to pretend the world is this wonderful place where our children are protected from this kind of pain and fear and horror because they are innocent. I will never take for granted a single second, even when they're tired and fighting. I will be thankful that they are here, because for 20 other families, they will never have that chance again.
I don't know if there's any sense to this post, other than to get off my chest what has been weighing so heavily on me since I first heard this story. If there is one thing I do want to say that I think matters more than anything else, is that we need these stories to focus on the victims. The world has a problem separating the famous from the infamous, and we need to stop giving publicity to the killers. We need to stop making them names we remember, while we forget the names of the innocent people whose lives were cut short by a person who very clearly was mentally ill.
These are the names that need to be shared. These are the names of the people who went to school that day, and had no choice in what happened. These are the people that need to be remembered. The name of the person who went into that school and took their lives is a name that needs to be forgotten. He should not be who the focus is on. Murdering innocent people should not make a person's name go down in history.
From one parent to another, my heart aches for the families of all of the victims. All of them. And also to the parents of children who survived that ordeal. And to the loved ones of the police, firemen, ambulance drivers...all of the people who had to walk into that scene because it's their job.
My heart hurts from this. This isn't something that should happen. Not ever.
So again I will log off and be with my children. Because this kind of thing just reminds us all how lucky we are to have these kids in the first place...makes us hug them tighter.
Love and light to all those affected. I am so very sad for everyone.