According to the National Center for Education Statistic (which is the link that I got when I googled), there are 93,295 public schools in the United States. I'm clinging to that number today. Because when I look at that, and I think that this horrific accident happened in one out of 93,295 schools, I can remind myself that this is rare. And it's an unspeakable tragedy. And most importantly, schools are safe.
I don't like sharing my kids. I'd rather keep them home with me all the time. I send them to school because I know that they are safe and loved and cared for. Because they have to live, they have to have friends and experiences outside of my living room. My kids have exceptional teachers. Teachers that have surpassed every expectation I've ever had with their dedication, devotion, concern, and effort that they put into making sure that my kids thrive. Flagg Street School is, as I'm sure so many schools are, a place of nurturing and security. I know this. But today, I don't feel like anywhere is safe.
They don't know about this. I've kept the television off. I did all my crying before they came home, and other than squeezing them both until they giggled and begged me to let go before they choked, they didn't notice anything different. I know that I'll have to tell them. I know that they'll hear about it. I just don't know how to yet.
And until I can manage to talk about it, without thinking about how I gave them both a kiss and one last hug and shipped them off to school like so many other parents, until I can stop putting myself into those parents' places. Until I can stop imagining what it would be like, to know that the last hug really was the last hug - I'm not going to tell them about it.
I'm sure that there are many people who will talk about gun control, and stronger security measures. But I think that misses the point. The point, if I may be so bold, is that horrible, unimaginable tragedies happen. They just do. Life can change in an instant, and you never know what tomorrow might bring. I don't want my kids barricaded in a school with metal detectors and afraid of everyone. That's not the solution. But for me, the point is that life is fragile and so, so precious. We forget that. We have to, I guess, in order to live.
So, for me, the point is just a reminder... there, but for the grace of God, go I. And I'll honor those lives lost today by remembering, as much as I can, how fortunate we are. To live in this time, in this place. To have beautiful, healthy children. To be able to squeeze them until they giggle and to cherish them as much as I can. And I'll do my best to forget how fragile and scary it is, because the world is an amazing place, filled with wonderful people and incredible experiences - and in order for me to allow my children out into it, I'm going to have to forget how incredibly fragile life is.