I thought about not writing about the tragic events in Connecticut but then reconsidered. A rare weekend post, one of a few thoughts that feel like I need to document and then get much needed sleep.
Friday afternoon I left earlier than normal as it was my wedding anniversary. Just like I do every day I turned on NPR ready to drive towards home. It had been an excessively difficult week at work as well as at home with behavior from the boys.
What I didn't expect was the news of the tragedy. I couldn't even turn the ignition. I felt physically sick as I listened to the coverage. Bill and I averted our plans and like every sane human being opted to be home with our kids.
I've tried very hard to be media silent since hearing the story, staying away from following news online or scrolling through social media reading well intentioned condolences.
I didn't want to know their names. I think of their parents naming them as babies never imaging their children would not live to see their name printed in a graduation program, or wedding announcement, or any other milestone event never to happen.
I didn't want to see pictures of them full of life with their ages printed fully alive in the holiday season with anticipation of gifts.
I didn't want to hear media pundits dissect the why and the how when no one. NO ONE can even begin to understand why. Don't patronize me by your expertise.
I didn't want to see or read the latest breaking news detailing more and more disturbing details that frankly once heard or seen can't be undone.
I didn't want to hear the words, "seemed like a nice boy" while juxtaposed with Adam's Lanza's own elementary school picture put up like some question mark on his upbringing.
I didn't want to hear that this very broken human being first victim was his own mother. I keep asking myself what type of relationship did they have? What was he like as a 1st grader. As no parent can ever imagine it is their child who will become synonymous with such a tragic event, I have to wonder what was her last thought before she also became part of the story.
I have keep my boys close for the last 48 hours. I want to touch them, feel their skin next to mine, to smell their hair. I spent too much time the last two nights watching them sleep.
Correction, not time wasted, not in the least.
I will continue to try to shield not only my boys from hearing about this story but also to engage in self preservation. This story has shaken me to my core. As a teacher and as a parent I cannot imagine a more worse case scenario. My hope if anything is to come out of this tragedy is a real and honest conversation about gun control that moves beyond reinforcing our political differences. I also hope a much needed conversation about mental illness isn't relegated to the backburner after the Sandy Hook tragedy becomes old news, out of our minds and broken hearts.
Both boys had ugly, fitful meltdowns tonight before bed. Luckily the only ones of the weekend. We had to separate them, leaving them alone to calm down before bed. So much of this year has been spent wondering if we are doing the right thing, wondering if anything we do now can prevent raising a sullen, bitter teenager with anger towards his himself, his parents, his world.
Tomorrow I have a preplanned surprise volunteer opportunity in Ben's classroom and then staying for lunch. I'm already bracing myself that being in his classroom as well as my own is going to be difficult. Too quickly the boys will be older, more mature and not wanting uncool mom around.
Part of me wants them to stay these ages for as long as possible relishing each and every sweetness and innocence they embody. Sadly for too many families tragedy has now made their children forever 6 years old and part of a story no parent should ever have live.
Thoughts and prayers to families there, here and anyone trying to process and understand.
I do want to share from Brene Brown's blog, Ordinary Courage resources that I have found helpful for helping children process death as well as explaining violence to kids.