That is a lie. I can handle what happened today because you know what? The people directly effected by the shootings today in Connecticut had to handle it... and if they could do it, then I certainly can as well. But what I cannot do is wrap my mind around all the details. I can not accept that there is this much evil dwelling very directly in our midst; someone so tortured that they would take lives of the youngest school-aged children as well as adults who are doing wonderful things for our community and for the next generation. Someone who would kill their own mother; shoot her in the face at point-blank range. Someone so filled with hopelessness that they would then take their own life, just at twenty years of age.
After learning this was such a horrific shooting at an elementary school, I immediately reflected back on my experience in elementary school and those were easily some of the best days of my young life. I had such amazing, kind, and patient teachers who encouraged us. I had my two sisters - one who was always a few steps ahead of me and another who was just a few steps behind me - both who loved me and kept every day at home and at school interesting. I had both of my parents in my life who made frequent trips to see me at school for various reasons - sometimes just for the sole purpose to make my day special and have lunch on the stage with me in the cafeteria.
Elementary school was a time to test the waters and find things that interested you. For me, it was environmental club, APEX, and taking part in student council. Sometimes you realized you had both strengths (won many-a-foot-race in my day on Field Day) AND weaknesses (losing two years in a row when running for student council). Despite some setbacks and typical childhood drama, I loved my elementary school and was so proud to be a Seahawk at Southwind Elementary School in Memphis, TN - and I'm still proud.
That's what filled my mind this morning.
How DARE some deranged fool take that away from ALL those students at Sandy Hook Elementary School. He blemished their experience from here on out - and that is to say that they survived the day.
Before my husband went to bed tonight, he shared that how different it is to hear about today's events as a parent now. Mid-way through the day, after not having shed a single tear yet, I was on my way to change my daughter's smelly, poopy diaper and I burst into tears thinking, "Thank God for this poopy diaper!" because it meant that she was very much here with me right now. I just hugged her and sobbed into her tiny, little shoulder and begged her to never take someone else's joy or to take their life... I also asked her to please never leave me in such a traumatic way. (As if she could control that.) As I changed her diaper, I thought about how much I've assumed that Presley will make it through her childhood and well into adulthood and I came to the crippling realization that that may not happen; all of the children gunned down today were babies at one point who likely have parents who changed many diapers a day just as I do for my daughter - parents who had the same hopes, dreams, and assumptions that their family would never be struck by such violence and grief.
It sucks that you can't control what happens to your family in bad situations and that you can't always save them. My dad was shot and killed when I was twelve and there wasn't a day that went by that I wasn't trying to come up with ways to go back in time and some how save him from the horrible choices that someone else was making. And that was my mindset as a child. Can you imagine what the parents of the children who were taken from the world are thinking? You just don't expect to send your child off to school in the morning and instead of picking them up from school, you're picking them up from the morgue. That sucks. It sucks that not everyone is good out there. It sucks that not everyone cares enough to realize how many people they will be hurting through their actions. It absolutely sucks!
I talk with my Gramma frequently through e-mail and just a month ago she wrote me saying, "the way the country is going is not the America I was born into and raised to love." And how true is that. It has changed so much since I was a young kid - and that was less than twenty years ago. I thought for the first time today that maybe it would be a disservice to any future children of mine to bring them into the world - what a sad thought that was! And so many parents are thinking that in order to keep their children safe they must home school them now. I can't blame anyone for feeling that way! For me personally, as I said before, I had a wonderful childhood in public schools and I would hate to take away so many beautiful opportunities from my child. But I would do it - IN A HEARTBEAT - if that meant keeping my child alive. I just can't believe that's what it may come down to five years from now.
It's going to take a lot of love and investment in one another to combat things such as what happened today in Newtown, Connecticut.
I know this isn't the most uplifting entry, so I will leave you with what has cheered me up throughout the day in hopes that it will lift your mood as well. A video of Miss Presley from today:
We have every day to make better decisions than we made the day before and I just hope that we can continue to live our lives without fear of the worst happening. I pray that we can all try our best to make our communities as safe, happy, and healthy as possible.