"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