Today, I haven't been on the computer much. Mom called and told me about the shooting in Connecticut just awhile ago. I was having a busy, happy day. Housecleaning, sewing, feeling proud of the zippered pouch I made Cheyenne for her birthday. And then I hear about what people have been going through. It is weird to think of people suffering so deeply and completely while I was happily contemplating exactly what size the lining of the pouch should be in relation to the pleated outside. That people could be mourning their children or not knowing if their kids were safe while I had my two babies cuddled up to me. It just seems amazing that something like this could happen and I could be totally unaware for hours. Something of this magnitude should reverberate through the air. I should feel the parents pain and be flattened by it. And yet, these sorts of things are happening all the time. Thankfully, not as horrific as this crime, but people are losing precious ones every minute of every day. And we go about our lives, thinking about supper, what to do this weekend, how to spend the evening, what needs to be done, while others grieve.
But today, we all grieve. Because it could so easily be any parent. Any spouse of a teacher. Anyone who works in a school. We can all imagine how bewildered and terrified the students and teachers were. How helpless and paralyzed the parents felt. I went to school this afternoon to pick the girls up, still clueless about what had happened and I noticed how many parents were there picking their kids up. I thought it was just because it was the weekend. But now, I think a lot of those parents just wanted to reassure themselves. Just to know their kids were safe.
Doing a Happy list seems crass today. Happy is too light and airy a word for us today. So instead, I am going to write a grateful/thankful list.
1. I am thankful that tragedies like this only happen to a handful of students in America. We are a lucky nation. It happening at all, is too much. Just too much. And I feel myself getting tight and anxious inside, thinking about sending my girls to school on Monday. But really, America does do a good job of keeping our kids safe. Their teachers, bus drivers, teacher assistants, law enforcement, all care and do their best. I don't know what that particular school's regulations were, but depravity can never be fully anticipated. We can look at things and try to change things that may have made it easier, but I don't think we can think the school or teachers were at fault. They do try so hard to make our kids safe and secure.
2. On that note, I am thankful that my girls had no idea this happened. I know they will find out eventually, but I am glad that the schools did not broadcast this. That they let the parents decide how to deal with telling their kids.
3. I am glad I don't have a television/radio. I can't even imagine the struggle people will have this weekend, trying to keep their kids from hearing every detail on the news. I don't want to know every detail. I am glad that I can choose to click on the story or not. Not have it shouted out to me in the middle of a song or a morning talk show. I hope that doesn't sound harsh or uncaring. It isn't that I want to be oblivious and not be reminded of it (how could you forget it anyway?) but rather that I need to have space and time to process and understand and that only happens for me in quietness. In being busy with the minutiae of life, being reminded that I am alive, that my kids are alive.
4. I am thankful that Gilbert and Elsie are clueless. Orianna and Lily are heading down to Syracuse for a birthday weekend, so I only have Gilbert and Elsie. Just the reminder of how small their world is, how Elsie couldn't concieve of such a thing, how Gilbert can't understand or grieve for something so unconnected to him, is good for me in some way.
5. I am thankful for all the good things in my life. The fact that my family is safe. That my kids came home talking about the Santa Claus they made in school and how Gabe laughed when her shoe fell off. Thankful for faith that allows me to trust and not try to make sense of senseless things. Just thankful for what these tragedies remind us--that life is so good, so precious, and is not to be wasted in pursuit of material things or in silly, pointless busyness.
And now, I am going to go read/sing Gilbert his Favorite Nursery Songs book that he just discovered under some toys.