So I did it. I sent my oldest off to school today. I hugged her extra tight, kissed her whole face until she giggled, and told her, “I love you” about a million times. I watched from the door as she and her daddy walked down the driveway, stepping over puddles together. I watched as her bus pulled up and that was the last view I had of her before she disappeared into the sea of seats and other children on her bus. So many times I’ve done this, sent her off to school, without even giving it a second thought. Sending her to a safe place. So often I’ve lost track of time, and rushed back to the house from shopping because I “forgot about her”, getting here only moments before the bus pulls up. I have taken her safety for granted.
Today I am counting the minutes until she gets off the bus, and comes back to us, safe.
After Friday, I want to keep her home. I want to keep her with me at all times. I want to know that she is safe 100% of the time. If she has to go to school, I want to send armed guards with her. I want to sit in her classroom myself, armed and ready to protect my angel if anything of this magnitude should happen in OUR sleepy little town. Because here is where it happened. Newtown might as well have been our town. Or your town. Or any tiny little town, nestled away in the woods of Connecticut. “Nothing ever happens here.” people like to say. Well, no. Nothing ever does. Until it does. We are safe, until we are not. I imagine that the parents and families will never feel safe again. The siblings of the children that lost their lives will never allowed to be even one moment late, or one foot out of sight. These parents will struggle every day for the rest of their lives, with how to parent their remaining children. They will be overbearing and nervous. They will be scared and emotional. Their children will complain that they just want to be “normal” like the other kids they know. And it will be hard for their parents, that just want to protect them from anything and everything. As a parent I can understand this now. But as I child, even a childless adult, I would have never understood.
I pray for that they all will find peace. It will not come easily, nor will it come soon.
And I will patiently count the moments until my Big Monster comes home. 4 hours and 40 minutes to go.