I’ve been a teacher for 15 years. I’ve been a mom for 10. I’ve had to lock my classroom door for numerous lockdowns. I sat with 4th period once for hours when there was a gunman on campus. He was from the surrounding neighborhood. He never intended to harm our students.
Yesterday morning while students at Sandy Hook Elementary were under siege, I was at Piper and Sissy’s elementary school. I took the day off and decided to join the girls for lunch. The smiles, the giggles, the joyful chaos that is elementary school filled me all up. The time was a gift. The evil in our world never crossed my mind.
Until I got in my car to drive away and heard the news. I sat in the parking lot fighting the urge to go back in. I wanted to grab my kids and hide. I wanted to grab everyone’s kids and hide. I wanted to know that they were safe, even though I’d seen them moments before. It wasn’t logical; I knew that. But parenting and living require faith. I went home. I waited.
And then I thought about the parents who were also waiting. The ones in the Connecticut parking lot waiting for their kids to come out one by one. The last ones. The ones with empty arms. Oh, God.
Piper and Sissy came home hours later hungry. They wanted snacks. They wanted to throw down their backpacks and share their day. I sat and listened and asked questions, but I’m not sure I heard a word. I kept moving my chair closer, close enough to touch them. I couldn’t get close enough.