Midmorning Friday I learned about the horrific events while on Instagram. My whole universe stopped, my heart felt like it froze and a wave of grief attacked my body. 20 kids 7 and under. My worst fear as a parent. The emotions I experienced during the next few hours ranged from apathy to anger with a bit of emotional numbness.
Such a horrific incident is hard to confront. It is hard to deal with. It is hard to keep your faith in humanity. It is hard to not want to throw in the towel and move to a little house in the big woods far away from all this pain.
I was supposed to be putting together a post on “Holiday Cheer”. How the hell do I compose a post on Holiday Cheer now?
The first thing I did was call my children’s school to check in on them.
I told my husband when I left work at noon so that he would have time to properly process the information throughout the afternoon before getting home. I did not want him to find out late in the day when he was tired or around the kids. Things like this have a pretty big affect on him.
I decided I would not tell my children about this event. I kept the TV off and social media shut down. It is not like I was ignoring what had happened. I was just processing it without being bombarded by the media.
I picked up the girls from school and we planned a family night. We ordered Pizza and watched Alice in Wonderland.
The next day I continued this pattern of avoiding the TV and internet as much as possible. I did check in to see what was going down on FB. So many posts about the shooting. Many opposing views about gun control. People trying to find the reason for what had happened. What I did notice however was just the outpouring of love for the families and a cry for change and a better world was the dominant theme.
I concentrated on getting done the things I had planned for the weekend with extra attention to caring for my girls and telling them how much I loved them and how much I admired their special and unique qualities. I took every opportunity I had to do this.
My husband and I decided that the best way for us to honor these young children who lost their lives in this senseless tragedy was to work even harder to love, respect and help our children. We decided we needed to work harder at helping our fellow man with compassion and work to recognize what is right about our world and seek to improve what we can.
I got through this weekend by starting with my own family. Seeing what is right in them and working to improve those aspects of our home life that need improving from a standpoint of tolerance and patience.
I am hoping that from this home base we will be able to carry this on to our neighbors, our peers and the world.
So for now we will stay in our little city and read about life in the big woods and work to honor those children by making this world a better place.