But it wasn’t until days later when the media started sharing backstories about the individuals….what they were doing that morning, the train they missed or hadn’t missed that put them in the Towers at the moment of impact, the camping trip they’d just taken with their kids…all those human details that had me crying in the car at a stoplight or in a bathroom stall, thinking about the unthinkable.
The Newtown, CT shooting stirred inside of me all weekend. Like many of you moms with young children, the story is just too close to home. I wanted to sit in front of the TV and let the news pour in and feel connected to the situation, as I had with 9-11. But with my kids in the house I chose to keep a distance and avoid the ugly reality, till nighttime when they had gone to bed. And I thought I was handling the news of it all fairly well. But then I dropped Lucy off to school on Monday morning and it really sunk in.
At Lucy’s school the kids start the day by saying the Pledge of Allegiance, then the Texas Pledge of Allegiance (which is sooo Texas and makes me smile), and then there’s a short moment of silence. I’m usually in the hall and back out to my car by this point. But on Monday we were running late so I stood next to Lucy at her desk, hand over my heart. After the pledge, the Star Spangled Banner was played from the loudspeaker. And then they had a moment of silence and announced that we would pause a while longer to remember of the families and children of Newtown, CT.
I looked around the room at these 20 children, 1st graders, some standing quietly, some wiggling their legs and daydreaming of recess. All of them so innocent and looking forward to the Christmas holiday. And I just teared up. I couldn’t hold it in. Another mom was there, hugging her son and probably thinking the same things. I couldn’t imagine looking up at the classroom door to a crazy person with weapons in-hand. What a horrible, pointless act. My heart aches for those families who lost their own little Lucy and Owen and came home that afternoon to empty beds and unopened Christmas gifts. What horrible loss.
I know this topic has been hashed and rehashed all week.
There are many conversations out there about gun violence, gun rights, home schooling vs. public schools, protecting our kids, teaching our kids about reality. They’re all natural thoughts. We want answers. We need answers to something so senseless and heartbreaking. It’s how our human minds work.
But I’m not sure there is an answer.
And all I can think is to continue being the best parents we can be and to teach our children strong values, to make good choices, and to be leaders for good.
I’ve never lost a child and can’t pretend to know what that’s like. My heart, hugs, and prayers reach through the screen to those of you who have experienced it. And my hugs to anyone who feels a little down and needs some hope back in their day.
Today I’m thankful that my children are still young enough that I didn’t have to explain to them the ugliness that lives in this world along with the beauty. Some day I’ll have to go there.
But right now I’ll squeeze tight to my little Star Wars fanatic and my tall skinny Lucy girl and my edible squishy baby and be thankful that despite the hard the days, they still call me Mom. And I hope that never changes.