It has been a very difficult few days.
Aside from Jack's birthday post, which is tradition, I haven't really known what to say here. Our usual silly little stories seemed frivolous and disrespectful. Yet I really don't have anything novel to say about any of what happened in Connecticut that hasn't been said a dozen times already.
Debates rage on Facebook about gun control, (mental) health care reform, who's at fault, who's to blame... and I grow so weary. I just want to hug the families, the friends, the community. I want to weep with them and tell them how sorry I am that this unthinkable horror occurred.
Eight of the little girls killed were Daisy scouts. Two of the boys had sisters in Girl Scouts. As a Girl Scout mom and leader, that hit me hard. Eight just happens to also be the number of little ones in my kindergarten troop. I'm sending a trefoil on behalf of my kindergarten troop, even though I won't be talking to my little Daisies about it. We had a moment of silence tonight at Mary Grace's Investiture and Rededication Ceremony. We told the parents what it was for, in the program, but not the children.
That's been the big choice for parents and teachers, especially those with kids who are 5, 6, 7... whether or not to tell them what happened. BJ and I chose not to, for a variety of reasons. First, we don't watch broadcast TV or 24 hour news channels in the house when they're awake, so they're unlikely to see coverage of it at home. Second, the school was not planning to bring it up with the kids (although of course they will respond to questions, concerns, anxiety on a one-on-one basis). Third, while there's a chance that they won't hear about it at all if we don't tell them, there's no chance that they won't hear about it if we do. And if they hear it elsewhere first, we still will have the opportunity to explain it to them after the fact (as if there's anything about it that we can explain away). Finally, they're just not old enough to understand. Claire, at 5, barely understands death... And Mary Grace is so sensitive that she freaked out during the movie Tangled when the mother turned back into a crone. She can't handle the reality of this. Not yet.
I've quizzed them carefully every day after school - "Did you hear any funny stories today? Any sad stories? Anything that made you happy? Anything that worried you?" and so far, the only reply I've gotten is, "It might snow!"
For just a little while longer, we can maintain their illusion that the world is safe and happy, and so that's what we chose. A lot of parents chose other paths, and I respect that decision. There are no right answers, and a lot of it depends on how old your kids are, how "plugged in" they are, and their personalities.
We received beautiful emails from both of the kids' teachers, basically saying, "I love your kids and I will protect them." I am in awe of all the teachers and school staff who dried their tears and went to school this week, who did their jobs with a smile in spite of what happened. They are heroes, every single one.
I'll try to get back to more regular posting around here eventually, but know that my heart is heavy. When I start telling cute stories and posting pictures again, it'll be because I think it's important to celebrate life, especially when we mourn.