Eighteen children started their day with a normal routine today. They got up – got dressed – probably had some type of breakfast before leaving their own home – and went on their way.
Eighteen children went to school. Some were taken in cars by their parents or with friends, while others took the bus to school. And school would be the last stop that these eighteen children would make in their very, very young lives.
My daughter is in Kindergarten now. She is six years old. I have the privilege – the honor – the blessing – of picking her up from her house and dropping her off at school every morning. Though the commute lasts no longer than five minutes, that time is ours. And at the end of it – when we arrive at the school – we have a routine. She grabs her bookbag and puts it on…she leans forward and gives me a kiss…and we say “I love you.” I tell her to have a great day – and then she’s gone.
I’m almost in tears as I write this because no part of me can fathom that routine being the last one we have – forever. She’s only six years old – and she goes to elementary school. Surely there will be many more routines that take place once she enters Junior High / High School / and then goes off to college.
But for eighteen families today in Connecticut – their routine ended.
And why? What could have possibly driven some lunatic – some bastard – to take his own pathetic thoughts and ideas out on those innocent children? Honestly, I don’t even care – and I doubt many others do, either.
My heart literally hurts. The pain that I feel of even thinking of losing my daughter – in general – is too much for me to bear. I can’t imagine what the families are going through at this moment. In no way am I even connected to anyone in the state of Connecticut – but when you take your frustrations out in such a manner…especially on children…we are all connected. We all hurt.
Children are the innocence this world needs. There’s something about them that…even at their worst…they can still manage to bring a smile to your face. I believe they remind all of us of times when we, too, were carefree – not burdened down with stress about job security and finances and whatever else. We long to have that freedom back – that expression of pure joy and happiness of doing what we want. So we live it out through the children.
One of my favorite things to do with my daughter is play games – all sorts of games. Whether it be board games…games on the computer…or games that she has spur-of-the-moment made up, we have an absolute blast. Her laughter makes me laugh. Her smiles make me smile. I feel as if I’m truly at my best when I’m with her.
And it’s in these moments that I realize I take all of that for granted.
Reading the updates and seeing the news when these horrible events take place has always made me sad. But now – having a child of my own in the public school system – it makes me hurt even more. And it terrifies me. You never know when your routine is going to become a memory. With anyone. I watch my daughter walk through the doors of her school each and every morning – and then drive off thinking about what the rest of my day holds. Never once do I think that she’s in any danger there. And I’m sure these parents didn’t, either.
The families in Connecticut need our thoughts and our prayers. What they don’t need are endless discussions and arguments over gun safety and details of the already horrific event – those things, I’m sure, will come later. But for right now – they need support. Their routine has been turned upside down. Their routine has reached its end. They need to simply be consoled.
For the rest of us who (thankfully) don’t have to deal with this traumatic experience first-hand, we need to wake up and realize how short this life can be. It’s hard to think that these types of events can be learning experiences for us all – but it’s true.
I want to live my life by showing my daughter – every single minute that I have her – how much I love her…and cherish her…and adore her…and want the absolute best for her.
You just never know.