Photo Credit: Gamma Gallery
I have barely read any of the developments on Sandy Hook. I can’t. It’s too horrific for me to digest right now. I know the basic details, but wish I didn’t.
Ryan and Cole were with their father this weekend, but Ryan asked me over the phone on Friday night, if I had heard what happened, and I was saddened he knew about this. Tonight, when we got home, Ryan asked me what would happen if that happened at his school-what if someone comes in and does that? I could see the uncertainty in his eyes.
I told him everything I had read you are “supposed” to tell kids, but the words sounded hollow, as they came out of my mouth. Reassurances didn’t sound very convincing either, because something like this should have never happened, but it did. What can be more gruesome, disturbing, and evil than the countless mass murder of innocent little children, in their classrooms?
I told my sons things like this are very, very, rare. But something inside of me felt like I needed to tell them more- not just “everything will be fine”, and they will always be safe, because what just happened in our country on Friday, in small town-America, in one of our schools, where the inconceivable became conceivable, then yes, it is possible it can happen again. I know we all pray, wish, hope, and talk about change, to prevent it again, but it is our reality now.
I took a deep breath and felt my world, and the world of my boys’ change forever- another piece of innocence gone. I hugged Ryan and Cole as tight as I could and I told them,
“If someone ever comes in your school, or class, to hurt you, you think. Listen to your teacher, but also be smart. If your teacher is gone, try to hide, if you can’t and someone is right there to hurt you with a gun, lie down on the floor. Get under a desk, close your eyes and play dead. If you look like you are dead, sometimes people who do this, leave you alone. If you see someone in your school that doesn’t belong, or scares you, tell a grown-up you know right away. Most people do not want to hurt children and teachers, but it is OK for us to talk about this, and OK for you to keep telling me your thoughts. We will talk about it, and work on it so you guys feel safe.”
And then I hugged them again. And they hugged me back.
Was that the “right” thing to say to them? I don’t know. I never, never, never, in a million years thought when I was holding my newborn babies, and looking in their little eyes, and holding their little hands, I’d ever have to have a conversation like this, with them. They don’t exactly cover having to talk to your kids about something of this magnitude in parenting magazines. But I want to keep them safe. I would rather them know a few things they could do- maybe they would have half a chance-maybe not. When these madmen are bent on taking lives, they usually succeed.
But as we found out on Friday, and as we all try to figure this out, one thing I know for us, is pretending things like this don’t happen, aren’t an option anymore.
(The picture at the top of this post is by Gamma from Gamma Gallery- an artist in Longmont, Colorado- where we used to live. I saw this, and I think it speaks the words, no one can really find to say).