I know I haven't written in a long long time. I have a lot of thoughts going through my mind so I thought I might try to write it out. Friday, as many know, was the unspeakable Sandy Hook shooting tragedy. I was shocked and somewhat desensitized when I heard about it. It didn't hit me directly. I was upset by it and sad for those who lost their loved ones but I wasn't sobbing or bewildered. It was just as though another news story had happened.
As the day went on and there was an outpouring of emotions and grief, I began to wonder why I wasn't more affected by this tragedy. I started to feel a little guilty. Sure, when I went to go pick up my four year old daughter right after I had heard about it, I gave her an extra hug. And when she asked for an extra snack, I didn't argue. When my two year old son woke up from his nap, I squeezed him tight. And I did think about those families that wouldn't be able to do the same. But, in the past, when I hear of these tragic events, I become mildly obsessed with the news coverage. This time was different.
I didn't want to read about it. I came to figure out later that my non emotional state was denial that it happened. And the fact is that as a former teacher, a parent and a mental health advocate, it hit too close to home. And because my kids are younger and won't be exposed to it, I could easily deny it.
But I can't anymore.
I can't deny that as a former teacher, it is terrifying to think that any teacher had to go through that. I asked myself, would I have given my life for my students? Absolutely. Because as a teacher, that's what you do. In this case teachers took a bullet. In other cases, teachers sacrifice their own life after hours worrying about kids, how to get them to learn and be the best they can be. Teachers are deeply undervalued and it is not only sad but disconcerting as well. I hope that teachers are seen in a different light soon.
As a parent, it is unfathomable that my children would be gone in a blink, right before Christmas, never to experience their joy again.
This weekend I had an experience I hope to never happen again. Amongst a weekend of Christmas joy, (we went to Dutch Wonderland and Strasburg Railroad's Santa train) my Son went missing. It felt like 5 minutes, (my husband says it was more like 20 seconds). We were all (14 of us) standing around waiting to get on the train. My two year old son was in the middle of all of us. Then it was time to get on the train. And he was gone. Horrible thoughts ran through my head. I took off to the front of the train to the steam engine that he was obsessed with.
I ran, hyperventilating, yelling his name, tears streaming down my face. I thought, "This is it. This is my tragedy" I thought he would be inspecting the hot steam engine from beneath. I thought he was taken. I thought.....of everything. Then I heard, "We found him!" And I turned around and there he was. I squeezed him tight and didn't want to let him go. I sobbed. (He had gone behind a building and was looking at another train). My heart stopped. And as I shook off the heart attack feeling, I thought, "He is still here" and I thought about all of parents of the Sandy Hook victims and how they can't say that. And how unfair it is.
While I watched my children in awe of the train ride, Santa and the general feeling of holiday loveliness, I smiled, slowed down and allowed myself to feel the season and enjoy my family. I took pictures and slowly, made good memories of the day instead of the day I lost my son.
Happy Holidays and love your family this season.