Friday was a busy day. I had been gone from home all day and had not listened to the news. Upon returning home with the kids after school, I took a moment to check my email and news feeds. The first Facebook post I saw was that of my friend Jim.
“Don’t read the headlines, don’t watch the news, just hug your kids extra tight tonight. THAT is my advice.”
And I thought, huh, wonder what is going on with them. I made a mental note to check in with Jim and his family later that evening. Then another post telling me to hug my children. And another. Then more informative posts. I switched to Twitter. There I found links to CNN and other news organizations. I started to read the coverage. As (I imagine) everyone else did, I started to cry. Apprentice noticed and walked over. “Are you OKay, Mom?” he asked. “Did something bad happen?” I replied that yes, something very bad had happened. “Did someone die?” I replied that yes, some people had died. “Do we know them?” No, we don’t know them, but I am still very sad. He hugged me and walked away.
All weekend my husband and I struggled with how to talk about the horrific actions of one person. We kept the news off of the television and did not discuss the school shooting in front of the kids. Then came Monday morning.
I was having breakfast with the kids and it occurred to be that other kids may talk about the tragedy in Newtown, CT, at school. Or, that a prayer may be said during school about it. I wanted them to hear the news from me. I did not want them to ask questions as school. Not that the teachers, administrators and staff at our school can’t deal with it, they are all awesome, (full disclosure, I work there part time). I just didn’t want them getting information from other kids. I did not want them to be afraid at school.
“So, today at school you may here about a terrible thing that happened last Friday in the United States.” They all looked up at me, puzzled. Mid asked what had happened. I froze. All three of them were looking at me with questioning eyes and I choked. My eyes filled with tears and I tried to get some meaningful words out. It seemed as if an hour had passed. “Someone broke into a school in Connecticut last Friday and had a gun.” Jaws dropped. Jaybird asked if the person was a kid or adult and if they had hurt anyone. “It was an adult and yes, he hurt a lot of people.” They stared at me. Jaybird broke the silence by saying that she understood. The boys nodded their heads in agreement and we went back to breakfast. I started to cry.
I took them to school at the usual time. When the got out of the car I told them the usual “buona giornata” (have a good day) and added “I love you” in pretty much any language I could think of. (“Ti amo”, “Ich liebe dich”, “”Nakupenda”) They got out of the car and walked into school. I cried the whole way home, thinking of the mothers in Newtown. Hopefully, when we discuss this tragedy later, I will be able to reassure them that they are safe and that God watches over them. That their school is full of wonderful children and adults that will help them. I hope I never have to reassure them of this because it should be a given. Children should always feel that adults will act in their best interest.
Prayers to all those in Connecticut and all over the world. Please follow Jim’s advice, today and every day.
If you would like to see Jim’s advice more often, please see his blog <HERE>. It’s a good one.