News Friday morning broke of a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. It came on the radio as I drove my children – ages 10, 7 and 2 – to their school and child care.
“What school was it?” my son – my oldest – asked.
I didn’t even realize he was listening. I explained that it was in another state. At the time, the report was that one person – the shooter – was dead.
The big kids hopped out of the minivan with donuts in hand for the class holiday party.
Before sitting down to work, I ran an errand. I made my returns at Toys R Us and Target. Hopping back in my car, the news came on the radio.
How things had changed in an hour.
The latest report was 27 dead, including 18 children (by Friday afternoon, it would grow to 20 kids dead).
I turned the car off and burst into tears.
For a fleeting moment I thought about picking up my kids, holding them in my arms, and bringing them home. But it’s their last day of school for the semester. They’re having a celebration. They’re safe.
As I write this, I continue to listen to the news reports on the radio. My heart aches for the families of all the students and adults traumatized by this, just days before Christmas.
Enough prayers can’t be said.
It’s the second news of a shooting this week – the first being at an Oregon mall.
I can’t help but think these questions, ponder the awful reality of it.
My kids will get those extra hugs tonight. I’ll cherish the memories we’ll make the next few days, time off together.
As a parent, this news sinks in the fact that each moment, each memory is a treasure.
Cherish the present. It’s a gift. Isn’t that the saying?
I can’t fathom the emotions going on in Connecticut. I confess I hope I never have to feel that way. Selfish, I know, but the truth.
Tonight I’ll talk to my older kids about how sometimes, awful things happen. I know I’ve covered stories like this and psychologists have said parents can remind their children that they will keep them as safe as possible.
But we’re not to promise or guarantee anything, because that’s just not the way of the world.
We’ll remind our children that should they ever find themselves in a situation where they feel in danger to find the closest exit or hide.
And then, we’ll remind them to pray.