First, I got a text that said, “School shooting Newtown, CT.”
And I thought, “Oh no.”
Then I read, “Elementary school… three taken to the hospital.”
And forgive me, but I thought, “Oh, that’s terrible but maybe it’s not that bad? Sounds like nobody died.”
Then I got home, turned on the TV and exchanged a lot of messages with friends and families that were full of speculation. Full of “I just heard…” and “Now they’re saying…”
But we still really had no idea.
And then, seemingly out of the blue, BAM this headline appeared, “18 children killed, six adults.” (And of course, later the number went up to 20 children.)
I lost it. I’m sure you did, too. I cried and yelled at the TV and called my sister and said, “What is happening??” I felt so panicked.
I’m sure you did, too.
And did you just want to RUN to your kids’ school and get them and squeeze them and never let go?
So I did. I went to the Loud One’s school, under the guise of having “library duty” (which was sort of true) because I felt like if I just went to the school for no reason, I would be that crazy mom who was freaking out unnecessarily. (Which is not unusual for me, for the record.) And because we live in Fairfield County, about 45 minutes away from Newtown, I was greeted by additional staff members manning the entrance and a police officer at the front door.
I walked down the quiet halls at my six-year-old’s elementary school and could not help but think… what if?
But then I saw the kids. My kid. And they were all fine! They were laughing. I could breathe. They were looking at books. And the Loud One was SO excited that she had picked out a Bob the Builder book for Happy Dude.
So cheerful. So innocent. So clueless, thank God.
I don’t think she noticed my eyes.
I brought her home at the end of the school day. All of my kids were under my roof and I didn’t want to take my eyes off of them. All throughout the afternoon and evening, they were fighting and they were whiny and I didn’t say a word. I just thanked God that they were home.
I still feel so anxious. The good people of Sandy Hook did not think this would ever happen in their town. In their school. But then it did.
How are those parents going to… live? I hope they’re sedated right now (is that wrong to say?) and surrounded by people who love them fiercely. I hope their angels can reach them somehow and give them strength to go on. Somehow.
I pray that someday they can find peace.
In my life, we are all reeling… do we tell our kids? Do we sit down with our babies – SIX YEARS OLD! – and tell them about the horrible things that very, very bad people do sometimes? Not often, but sometimes? Do we look them in the eye and promise that this will never happen to them? That they will always be safe? Do we promise?
Or do we keep our mouths shut because they’re too young to understand? Too young to be aware of this kind of horror?
But then what happens when some big-mouth older kid yells across the bus, “Hey, did you hear about all those little kids that got shot and killed in that school that’s only 45 minutes away?”
That would be terrifying, no?
What’s right? What’s wrong? What would a good parent do?
How do I be a good parent today?
A very, very sick young man killed 20 young children and six adults this morning and the ripple effect is now being felt throughout Newtown, Fairfield County, the state of CT and the entire country.
Hug your kids. Say a prayer.
PS. I write words down usually in awkward and run-on sentences because otherwise they swim in my head and give me a headache. I don’t mean to make any broad, inappropriate statements about what happened today and I DEFINITELY don’t mean to make this sound like I think it’s all about me. I like when I write stuff and people say to me, “YES. I felt that, too!” whether it be in a comment or in person. Because that makes me feel less anxious and crazy. And isn’t that the whole point? To feel less alone in our anxiety and craziness? Thank you for keeping me company.