Like so many others, I am baffled, horrified, grief-stricken, and angry at the events that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday.
Tragic events like this often cause us to stop and take stock in our own lives. I did just that and realized that in the grand scheme of things:
Does it really matter that my son spilled a bowl of popcorn on the floor not soon after I finished vacuuming?
Does it really matter that my daughter caused an avalanche of books right after I put them all back on the shelf?
Does it really matter that both of my children knocked over piles of freshly folded laundry causing me to have to start all over again?
No. It doesn’t.
Yes, those things are annoying. Yes, they are time consuming. Yes, I would rather they didn’t happen.
But, I still get to hold my children. I still get to nurse them and wipe their noses and tend to their booboos. I still get to comfort them back to sleep and applaud their latest accomplishments. I still get to wrestle and tickle them and have early morning pillow fights with them. I still get to tuck them in at night, smother them with hugs and kisses, and tell them I love them.
Many others are not so lucky.
This school shooting hit very close to home for me. As a former elementary school teacher myself, I remember practicing our lock down drills – cramming 18-20 students into a small bathroom, crouching down in the dark, and trying to remain quiet and still. They were drills, nothing more. But they were scary. Many of the kids thought it was silly and fun and I would have to control their giggles. Many wondered why we had to go through this and looked concerned. I never liked these drills. My heart pounded each time and I would have to be calm and reassuring to the students while inside I was freaking out a bit. That being said, I’m still glad we did them. Knowing what to do in a situation like this is what helped save many lives at Sandy Hook Elementary. The teachers were prepared. They knew where to go and what to do and they did so calmly and in an orderly manner. And by doing this, they kept as many students as they could alive.
The hardest thing for me as a parent right now is that I tell my children that it is my job as their mommy to keep them safe. It is my job to protect them. It is my job to keep them out of danger.
But then, something like this happens, and that concept is shattered. If I’m not there, there is nothing I can do. It is then that we have to put our faith in others. We trust that those who care for our children will do whatever they can to keep them safe, to protect them, and to keep them out of danger.
Several teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary proved that on Friday.
So yes, hug your children. Hug them and squeeze them and love them and keep them safe.
Then, go hug a teacher.