When my children came home from school yesterday I hugged them so hard that they complained, my hug was too fierce, too long, too hard. I think a lot of parents did this. We sat down, and I asked them if they had heard anything about new during their school day. My fifth grader had, but my youngest daughter was unaware of the tragic events that took place at the Sandy Hook elementary school. I knew that there was a chance they would hear more, or see a news segment on the television that I am refusing to turn on, so I explained to them briefly that there was a school shooting and a lot of children died. I asked them if they had any questions, and told them that I was sad. That we needed to keep the people in Newtown in our thoughts and prayers.
In the meantime, I was sending my husband text message after text message, telling him we needed to talk about this, that we needed to homeschool our kids, that we needed to go far away from everyone and live in some underground safety bunker where nothing like this could ever harm our family or our children. When something like this happens, we can think only of the parents and the children, those poor, poor parents, those babies who died. But when something like this happens, we relate it back to us, our children, our families, our schools and communities. How can we be safe? How can we send our kids to school on Monday knowing that these things can happen in the world?
I’m sure these parents who hugged and kissed their kids goodbye yesterday morning, who packed lunches and buttoned coats and checked backpacks had no idea that their day would end this way. They started their days like so many of us did, making plans for the weekend, talking about the upcoming holiday. From Today:
Weiss recalled a mother’s excitement earlier in the day that her daughter was going to be an angel in the church’s Christmas pageant, another parent looking forward to her daughter making her first Holy Communion, and another’s joy over her 5-year-old scoring her first soccer goal. There also was a brutal reminder of the loss from the simple buzzing of a cell phone.
“I was sitting there and one of the alarms went off on (a mother’s) phone, and she was supposed to pick up her child to take him to Cub Scouts and realized that was never going to happen again,’’ Weiss said. “The emotions of yesterday were just absolutely overwhelming, and I don’t know if the reality has really settled in yet.’’