I don’t often blog in the true sense that blogging is meant to be a spontaneous train of thought. For me, writing is a form of therapy; a way to process whatever has been on my mind. Some people exercise, I write. But I’m also a Virgo, so if my words are going to be public, I want them to be as perfect as my limited capabilities allow. So I often sit on a blog for a day before I publish it.
Today, however, I simply don’t care about perfection.
Back in the day when I worked outside the home, I knew the day’s events as they happened… first over the radio and, later, on the Internet. These days, I learn of current events via Facebook… sometimes immediately, other times much later or whenever I get around to checking in.
It was just before 2 pm EST today when I checked Facebook. I was about to leave the house to pick up my daughter from school. She is in kindergarten. One status update after another… so I skimmed to find a news article… and then had to read it twice before it sunk in: a massacre had occurred at an elementary school in Connecticut. I couldn’t get to Embassy Creek Elementary fast enough. I didn’t even wait in the usual car pick up line; I parked and speed walked to where my happy little girl was waiting, oblivious to the knot in my stomach and lump in my throat. She always greets me with a big smile and a hug and today was no different, or so I thought. “Mommy why are you hugging and kissing me so hard?!” I didn’t respond for fear it would trigger tears.
I recall her first preschool in Massachusetts where one had to be buzzed into the building and then not allowed past the front desk unaccompanied. I remember the first time I received an automated message informing me that the school had performed a drill instructing the students to hide from the principal. At first I didn’t understand what I was hearing and when it dawned on me that the drill was in case of an intruder, I felt nauseous. And I remembered why I often thought I wouldn’t have children at all: why bring an additional life into such a horrible world?
The answer, of course, is that she is the hope of the future. I wonder if Adam Lanzer’s mother ever felt that way about her son. According to the little news I could stomach, he shot his mother at home before taking legally purchased guns (registered in her name) to her place of employment… where he performed the unthinkable act of murder, not only of adults, but of children… beginning with the joint execution of the principal and school psychologist.
I don’t know how many times I heard “20 between the ages of 5 and 10″ before I had to change the channel. HOW does a community bury 20 children? WHY has this happened? I just can’t wrap my head around it and I know I’m not alone. I feel like my heart is connected to that of every other mother of an elementary-school-aged child. And while the hurt and worry in our collective heart is overwhelming, it is far exceeded by profound gratitude.
I anticipate a lengthy dialogue about school security. I expect detailed, written procedures and increased communication between parents and schools. I hope such measures never require implementation. But I also wonder if it matters when we often know the perpetrators. It’s times like these that assure me: it’s all in God‘s hands. I mean, if you’re not safe in an elementary school in a nice community in Connecticut…