Monday, December 17, 2012

The Monday After

"Most human beings have an absolute and infinite capacity for taking things for granted"-- Aldous Huxley

As a blogger it is tough to find a justification to post in the wake of a national tragedy. It feels so pointless and superficial. It feels disrespectful. It feels dumb. I'm sure there are other bloggers struggling this morning as to what to post, and I am not judging them for whatever decision they make.  But as a mother of a kindergartener AND a school teacher, I am going to have to save my fashion musings for another day.

School shootings have always terrified me. My generation has grown up in a world of too frequent occurrences like the one that took place in Sandy Hook Elementary Friday morning. There were shootings before my senior year of high school, but the Columbine shooting, a month before I graduated from high school, is the one that affected me the most. And while I never once felt unsafe in my high school, the very notion that someone (or multiple people) could come into my "safe place", my sanctuary, and destroy innocent lives, is something I have struggled with for years.

Now as a teacher, I see things from the other side of the coin- what IF this happened at my school? What if I found myself in the nightmarish situation of fending off an attacker and protecting my students? What would I do? We practice lock downs. Since Columbine, most schools have survival plans laid out "in case of emergency". But what would I do? How would I react?  I have never once felt unsafe in my high school as a teacher, but I'm sure if you asked any of the teachers in Newton that question, they would give you the same answer. We take this for granted.

Every morning, Curtis takes Sean to school. That's been the arrangement since he started daycare. It's on Daddy's way to work, so Daddy takes him. Every morning, I get my goodbye hug and kiss from Sean. Sometimes he stops me right before I walk out the door for "one more" hug and kiss. Sometimes I rush him through it. We've already said goodbye. I'm running late.

 As I picked Sean up from school Friday afternoon (driving over the speed limit the entire time even though I knew he was safe, tears streaming as I listened to radio reports on the ages of the children killed), and smothered him with hugs and kisses, I was so thankful. I have another chance to see my child. To love my child. I wonder if any of the parents in Newton rushed out the door with their second goodbye kiss. I wonder if any of them were running late or were preoccupied or just not living in the moment. I wonder how they felt Friday afternoon. Were they like me- relieved that they got a second chance? Or will they spend the remainder of their lives regretting that final good-bye? We take this for granted.

"When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude."-- G.K. Chesterton


Leighleigh Uzumaki said...

As a parent, I was terrified. You don't expect this kind of thing at elementary school. Those kindergartners didn't bully that young man. Last year, Dec. 21st 2011, my 2 and 1/2 year old nephew died in a house fire. We spent hours waiting to know if he survived or not. I FEEL the parent's and families pain more than I want to. There is nothing like the terror and utterly consuming sadness when your child is gone. Everyone that died Friday was someone's baby, the teachers, the principal, and of course, those tiny, smiling faces of those beautiful kids. Coming up on the anniversary of my nephew's death, right before Christmas, is still heart breaking a year later. The fire was an accident, but this shooting was deliberate and calculated. I don't know what was wrong with that man, but there is nothing that wrong with anyone to warrant something like this. I hope and pray that the families of all of the victims find some peace when they can.

Feathers & Freckles said...

I'm still devastated by what happened, and I can't stop thinking about the poor parents who lost their loved ones, especially since we're so close to the holidays. It just breaks my heart.

I can't even imagine how it must feel as both a teacher and a mother. I would definitely have rushed to pick up my child and hug them a little closer.

Annie said...

There are no words. Friday I had a bunch of blog stuff planned to do - and it just all seemed so pointless, like you said. I can't imagine what I would feel like as a mother, but I would definitely hug my child a little tighter from now on.

Jenny Lauren said...

Such a beautiful post and so well written. I'm not a mother but I am still devastated by what happened. It's just shocking to think that anyone could bring harm to innocent young children. I simply cannot imagine what those parents and families are going through, especially this close to Christmas. My thoughts are with everyone affected by this nightmare.

xo Jenny

Katha Strophe said...

I'm still so in shock, there really are no words.

I can't imagine what it must feel like as a mother and a teacher, it breaks my heart :(

Marissa said...

There are simply no words. As a teacher and a mother I know you see both sides of the story.
I felt the same way as you, my fashion post seemed meaningless today. Who cares what I wore to go shopping when there are so many people grieving.

Beautiful post Katie, I am still trying to process all this.

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