Thoughts on a Tragedy: The Sandy Hook School Shooting

I'm usually writing a review for this site around this time of the week, getting it ready to go live on Monday morning. But right now, I just can't and I hope that you understand. Right now, I'm thinking of all of the sweet children that were lost yesterday along with their devoted teachers and their principal. The tragedy is particularly poignant to me as I am the mother of a 6 year old boy in the first grade. Every day, I get to see his sweet shining face look up at me and tell me he loves me. And 5 days a week, I get him ready for school and drop him off, calm in the knowledge that of all the places on earth, his school is surely the safest place, second only to our home. Yesterday, I had to fight off the urge to go and get him early. I knew that if I did, it would only alarm him. I have not told him about the shooting, and I'm not sure I am going to tell him. He's a sensitive boy and I don't want to alarm him. I still have to figure out the best way to handle it.

The headmaster of his school has emailed all of us regarding the shooting. Along with his sadness about the situation, he has also assured us that there is an emergency plan in place and that there are regular drills to ensure that everyone knows their role. This email was very reassuring to me and I am glad that he sent it. As I read over the accounts of the shooting, I see that the principal of Sandy Hook School also took security very seriously. As I understand it, she had just installed a system that would lock the doors at 9:30am. Tragically, we now know that 9:30 was just moments too late. (Update: We now know that the gunman blasted his way through the glass door).

I am not going to make any political statements about gun control or mental health care in this country. All I will say is that I continue to believe that my son's school is a safe place for him to be. I choose to believe that while these things continue to happen, I can't just wrap him in cotton and keep him next to me all day. I have to let him live his life and equip him with knowledge that may keep him safe.

This past Thursday, I graduated from the Citizens Police Academy at my local police department. During my training, I spent time with our SWAT team and learned about what they do in the case of an "active shooter" in a school. Even though the shooter in this case cowardly took his own life and the Newtown police did not have to fire their weapons, I know the danger that these men and women put themselves in to save these children. The fact that they didn't fire their weapons shows the presence of mind that each of them regarding the safety and well being of a school full of small children. When I think of the families of the victims and of the survivors, I remember these law enforcement professionals at the same time. They will have to carry with them the images that they encountered when they arrived on the scene and carried out the evacuation and investigation of the crime scene. I honestly do not know how someone goes on from there. The images my own mind conjure up are bad enough.

And now let me speak to the parents of these precious babies (because let's face it, that is what they still were). A 6 year old isn't quite to the point yet where they don't want to be snuggled and cuddled. At this age, they are only beginning to pull away and exert their independence. And in an instant, they will be right back in your arms, if only to make sure that you are still there for them. Their soft place to fall. Every morning when I wake up to get my son ready for school, I purposely give myself an extra 10-15 minutes so that I can lie beside him and snuggle. I like to ease him into the day. I know that these special early morning times are limited. Soon enough, he will be too old. But for now, he is still my baby. My only baby. And I am his mother. If anything like this every happened to us, I do not know how I would have the strength to go on. And so I say to those Mommies and Daddies who waited in that firehouse for their babies who would never come out, reach out to those around you and lean on them for strength. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Fall back on your faith if you have one. And cling to one another.

I'm sure I will be back soon with another review, but for now I am going to love my family and try to be the best mother I can to my little boy. I'm not even sure any of this makes sense as I try to write it through my tears. Thank you for allowing me to say these things and I hope all of you can find some peace in this world.


Becki Jolly3 Comments