The First School Day after the Sandy Hook Elementary Shooting

This morning when I woke up, I thought about the Newtown, Connecticut parents who woke up remembering that their kindergartener was killed on Friday.  That this wouldn’t be an ordinary school week.  

As I prepared lunch for my first grader, I thought about his sweet classmates and his maternal, kind teacher who sings her way through the day.  What must she be feeling? 

As I hugged my fourth grader goodbye I thought about what she will be hearing from her classmates at recess or in the cafeteria.  I learned yesterday that many of her friends were told about the shootings over the weekend, so my husband told her what happened last night so she would hear about the terrible news from us, in a way that would somehow protect her.

I sent the kids to the bus stop alone, something I’ve been doing for most of the year, and thought about the mothers I know who worry about their children riding the bus and choose to drive them to school.   The mothers who are anxious and have a hard time letting go. 

As I got my toddler ready for daycare, I thought about the mothers and fathers who will be sending their first children to kindergarten next year.  The leap of faith and trust in sending your first or second or third child to kindergarten is such a tough adjustment. I worried about my daughter not being able to open her lunch containers.  I worried about my son’s uncontrollable itching from the eczema on his hands, especially when he was nervous.  I didn’t worry about a gunman entering their elementary school. 

All weekend, I thought about the gunman, who may have a form of autism.  I thought about my friends who have sons on the autism spectrum.  Will others look at their sons differently?

I thought about the gun control debate: President Obama’s speech, the number of messages I’ve seen posted on Facebook and Twitter.  I’ve seen how many people who are passionate about their right to bear arms.  I have plenty of cousins who hunt and possess guns and thought about them- they deserve to enjoy their hunting rifle but why would anyone need an assault rifle?  I don’t have the energy to debate this issue with people who believe everyone should be armed or teachers should be armed or “people kill people, guns don’t kill people.”

Most of all, I’ve thought about how grateful I am to have the gift of my children and their little friends and my nieces and nephews. They are precious, every one of them. 

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