I get personal on this page—up to a point–but not too terribly personal. It’s how I am built. I hold a lot inside until something totally rocks my world. Today’s tragedy in Connecticut totally rocked my world. I am an extremely sensitive person who puts on a good, tough, front. Today, I have not stopped crying. I also do a very good job of pretending not to be too awfully political. I am the mother of seven glorious children, one who is only 8 years old. They are all alive and safe at this moment. Thank you God. Seriously. Thank you so much! They have lock down drills at my son’s school, even in this tiny little town in Maine. What in the world?
My heart is broken for the families of all of those tiny children….those lost, and those who will live with the memory of terror for a lifetime, and for all of the families involved. I have so many friends who are teachers….so many. Those teachers in Connecticut were heroes today. One lost her life shielding her class. She was 27 years old. I know that all of my teacher friends are heroes every day. Schools are a battleground these days. Are we all thanking our teachers each and every day?
My oldest daughter is a school guidance counselor in Maryland. The school guidance counselors in Connecticut have a horrible task ahead of them that is part of the job. I think about my daughter and wonder just how crushing to her psyche being on a crisis team for something like this would be. I know her, tender spirit that she is. She would be torn apart, yet on the other hand, she would probably surprise the hell out of me with her strength. My kids all amaze me every day. No, she would pay a high price for such strength. I know that with all of my heart.
At the same time, I was the mother getting the crisis emails when a shooting took place at one of my son’s colleges. I have been the mother on the other end of the phone listening to her terrified child tell her that he and his friends were fleeing until it was safe. I have been the mother—I am the mother—of a child who lost a friend to a shooter, and who graduated college three weeks later with pall of it all hanging over the ceremony.
While we all take time to grieve, we also need to ask what we need to do as parents and human beings. Are we finding ways to support parents who are clearly lost in the job that they are doing, or are too young to do the job without the help of a committed mentor? Two days ago, a child in my little boy’s class threatened to have his father come over to our house, break in, and gun us down. This is an ongoing issue—this little boy and his rampant bullying. The school does all that they can. Without help on the home front, what more can they do?
What are we doing as a society to stop adult bullies, or those using the internet to stalk and harass others, or to help those in domestic violence situations, or those people with mental health issues? The answer does not lie with the government….not all of it.
The answer lies within us. The answer is love. The answer is always love and reaching out and paying attention and offering help even to those who offend us–within reason. The answer is not turning a blind eye, judging, blaming, or walking away. If my thoughts offend anyone, well, they are my thoughts on this sad night. Reach out. Be safe and trust your gut, but reach out in love.