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In Light of the Tragedy at Sandy Hook

January 19, 2013

It has taken me exactly a month and five days to write this

The phone rings, I answer and the recording starts. I have held the deluge of tears for a couple of days. I am proud of myself, I cannot imagine or fathom…

“In light of the tragedy at Sandy Hook, a new safety plan has been implemented effective immediately, it can be found in your child’s book bag” I close my eyes against the tears and let my mind drift to simpler times. The times when the only drills we had were fire and tornado, and bullying was limited to your frenemy being “really mean”

Fire drills were great. We filed outside and excitedly waved to all of our friends on the way. We were a little more afraid of the tornado drills. The siren was a little louder, the space a little tighter and quieter. I am positive there was bullying and fights, but more often than not school was safer than home for some of us.

Today our children have the weight of the world on their shoulders.  I remember my second grader describing an intruder drill. I will not go into detail, for the safety of any students that practice these drills however; she described this drill in great detail, giving me chills as the reality set in my child was being taught to save her life.  It was not just the file out in an orderly line and remain quiet, lifesaving skills. My child was being taught to hide, remain quiet during gun fire, and how to survive without her teacher to guide her. I remember asking my baby if she was scared during these drills, and my heart breaking when she told me that she was. School has become a battlefield for children. Bullying is criminal and life threatening and parents wonder if our children are safer at home.

January 14, 2013 marked thirty days since the worst school shooting in history. Monday marked one of SEVERAL mass and school shootings my children have been alive for. From 2000-2002 there were ten. I stopped counting after 2007, after twenty.

These shootings although tragic, have never left me as emotional, as hearing that twenty small children had lost their lives. My heart ached for, the parents enduring the pain of burying children, for the children living through the pain and trauma of seeing and hearing their classmates being murdered, teachers reliving these same moments. I ached for the first responders, and the town of Sandy Hook as a whole.

I watched Anderson Cooper interview some of the parents. I admire them for being strong, for being able to tell their stories. Their pain is real as they describe their Christmases without their children and describe the things their children loved and their shining personalities.

On the day of this tragedy, I took several minutes out to say a prayer of thanks, to ask for comfort for these families, and I asked that my children be kept safe and spared from this fate.  I say the same prayer every day. When and how did we get to a point where we hope no one will shoot up the school our child attends?

I finally weep. The reality is too painful. There are no simpler times for our children.

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