19 December 2012

What They Don't Know

I cried a lot on Friday.  Until about 3:15 when my kids got out of school.  

Then we kept the radio off as we got my 9 year old prepped for her Nutcracker dress rehearsal.  Kept it on stations playing Christmas music as we drove in the car.  My daughter asked about the flag flying half-mast, and I side-stepped the question.

I have four children in elementary school.  A 10 year old, a 9 year old, a 6 year old, and a 5 year old.  I was relieved to have a weekend before I sent them back to school.

Sunday morning I told my 10 year old what had happened.  It was brief, and vague.  No numbers, no ages.  I told her I wanted her to know, because other kids at school might be discussing it.  I did not want her telling her brothers and sisters.

For one of my children in particular, hearing this news from us, her parents, would increase the gravity of the news times a million.  It would be Serious and Bad.  The worst kind of Bad.  And of course the news is serious, and horrible, and bad.  But for my kids, if they happen to hear about it second hand at school, and then come home and talk to me about it, it will be more manageable for them.  Like those weird stories that get told around elementary schools that you don't know whether to believe or not.

But I hope they don't hear about it.

I watch my son as he comes home from school.  My 6 year old.  My first grader.  He does not know.  And I am relieved.

My daughter missed school yesterday because of a ballet performance.  She missed the talk of the new security measures that have been put in place.  And I am relieved.

My kindergarten girl is happily oblivious.

My 10 year old came home and gave me an update on new school safety procedures, the doors that get locked, the places you can't go alone.  She's on the student council and does a lot of out-of-class things, so I am glad I addressed it with her.

My kids already practice lock-down drills.  They know what corners to hide in, while the teachers lock their doors.  They told me this after the Colorado shootings, which they did hear about a little bit.  

It just seems insane to me that my kids live in the kind of world where they have lock-down drills.  

My prayers go out to those families who have lost their loved ones.

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