Not since 9/11 have I felt this... immense sadness.
Just a few days ago I was home from New Orleans hugging my kids and writing my Thankful Thursday post feeling blessed. Less than 24 hours later I was sitting in silence in front of the TV on the opposite side of the house from my kids.
I was really sick on Friday and the twins were taking care of me in the form of piling all their stuffed animals on me and telling me to rest while they watched cartoons in the other room and helped themselves to juice boxes and gingerbread cookies. I had the boys count by shows when to wake me up so I wouldn't oversleep making them lunch.
Just before I made them lunch I opened my laptop and was horrified to see a school shooting being reported in Connecticut...so close to us...and at an elementary school. I couldn't even wrap my head around it. I flipped on CNN and just sort of stared at the screen. Somehow I made the boys lunch and got them off to school. It took everything I had to walk them down the road and drop them off. I could tell the other parents had not heard anything yet so I did not say a word. I went straight back home and turned on the news.
About a half hour later I started to panic. I im'd Al, asking him if I should just go pick up all three of the boys and take them home. He talked me out of it and told me to shut off the TV. I stayed put, but I didn't shut off the TV. Instead I grabbed a box of tissues and watched the numbers climb. A Kindergarten class wiped out? Maybe 1st grade? Those are the very ages of my 3 babies.
I could not take it.
It seemed like it took forever for the Kindergarten door to open at the end of the school day and I just felt so sick to my stomach. These were babies. Babies MY babies ages. I thought I didn't have to worry about things like school shootings till high school maybe. I was in college, studying to be a PE teacher when we came home from classes and watched Columbine live on TV. For some reason, until now, it had never occurred to me that something like this could happen in an elementary school.
I have tried to process it all weekend, but I just can not. We got together in our blogging and business groups and pretty much decided we needed to all take the weekend off out of respect. Starting up again doesn't feel right either. But how long do you wait? I have no answers. I am behind on so many posts over the last 2 weeks so I know that I need to get a move on...but my heart is not in it.
I know I can't be the only parent having anxiety over sending my little ones to school again tomorrow. The school I volunteer at. The school I knew was safe. But then didn't the parents in Connecticut think their school was safe too? How safe can anything be. And how do I explain this to my babies.
We have managed to shield them so far. They don't know a thing...yet. I have struggled over saying something before they go back to school tomorrow, out of fear that they will hear about it from other kids at school and be afraid. But so far, I can't bring myself to say anything.
How can I explain what seemed unthinkable... what I will never ever understand...