Sunday, December 16, 2012


I actually started this post a few days ago because I never blog anymore, but in light of the events this past Friday I wanted to say a few words. I heard about the shooting in Newtown on Facebook. A friend's post (not sure what it said) prompted me to go to the news app on my phone and that is where I read the words that I never thought I would see together. Shooting. Elementary School. I immediately left the restaurant parking lot where I had pulled over to feed Shelby and headed toward Blake's school. I called Shawn on my way. He had not heard about it yet. I think I am going to get Blake I told him tearfully. I know it's hard, but he is fine, he reassured. Thinking he was right I went home. Jackson wanted to play on the computer so I turned it on for him and went into the living room and turned on the TV. The news was not very detailed at that point. It was being called the worst mass shooting in our nation at that time. All I could think of was my baby who I watched run into the school that morning. All I could think of were my friends in the classroom. It was like September 11. What do you do? So I did all I knew to do. I prayed. And as I prayed the more I wanted to hug Blake. It was almost 1:00, almost the end of the school day. I scooped up Shelby and Jackson and we went to the school. I walked into the office informed the receptionist that I wanted to get Blake Robison early. He's in Mrs. Potts class. She called for him in the classroom and then discovered that he was in the library. So she called there for him to come down for an early dismissal. The receptionist who knows me smiled. Can I go ahead and see your ID? With everything today...I cut her off...yes, yes, thank you it's no problem. She and the other woman who works at the front were reading on the computer. It brought even more memories of 9-11. In retrospect I think that may be why I went to get Blake. I remember on September 11 (it was my first year of teaching) that parents slowly trickled in to pick up their kids. I remember not knowing anything and trying to get news updates on my classroom computer. I remember not wanting to alarm the kids but the ones who were left kept asking me why everyone was leaving early. I can't remember how I answered. Coming through the office I saw one of the other Kindergarten teachers. She told the ladies that another student (who we know) was being picked up in a few minutes and he was ready with his things. I smiled at her. She is one who puts Blake in my van each afternoon. Right then she opened the door and said, here's Blake! I wasn't sure if he would be happy to see me. But he smiled. Are you surprised to see me? Yes he said back shyly. I took his face in my hands and kissed him. I love you I said. We got back in the car and headed toward my Mom's house. Jackson wanted Sonic and yes he still had not eaten lunch so I was planning to stop on the way. We were exiting on Hwy 10 when Andrea came on KLTY. Her tone serious. Details are emerging from Newtown she said. I don't even remember now what she said. I just remember her saying Kindergarten class, number is believed to be close to 30. I brought my hand to my mouth. Oh my God. Tears flowed. I tried to keep quiet but I just couldn't. My mind immediately went to a particular Kindergarten teacher's classroom where I worked last year. I saw tiny faces. Innocent faces. I looked in my rear view mirror. I saw my babies. Blake is tall. He doesn't look like a Kindergartner but he is. And he is so innocent. He doesn't understand bad things. He doesn't understand death. Mommy what's wrong? he said. Mommy what did she say? What happened? I didn't answer. So the questions kept coming. Jackson must have felt the gravity of the situation. Because he forgot all about Sonic. (He never forgets! And we had already driven past the Sonic.)  Blake! She doesn't want to answer you right now so stop asking her. I gained a little composure. A bad man did something bad that's all. The questions stopped there. I said boys we just need to pray. Jackson answers back, I think we need to pray right now! My mind instantly begins praying and that same Kindergarten class floods back to my mind. You take your baby that you love more than life to school. You pray for their education, you pray that no one picks on them on the playground. You pray that they will find a best friend. You pray that their teacher will love them half as much as you do. You pray that they will be safe, that they won't forget to go down the slide instead of up. That they won't get their folder signed. That they will listen to the teacher and that they will learn what they need to know and not learn what they shouldn't. But never do you dream that you should pray that they come back. I can not even begin to fathom the pain that these families are feeling. I have spent the last few days remembering lock down drills, and thinking about the teachers that I know. Thinking about my classrooms of kids that I have loved over the years. There isn't one of them that I wouldn't try to protect. I am not going to think about this person or his motive. If he was mentally ill. If he cried out for help. I am only going to remember those teachers, that principal, that psychologist, and those sweet little innocent babies that were just beginning to learn about the world. The parents who will likely have to say their final goodbyes this week as they bury their children. They should be finishing up their Christmas shopping, getting ready for Santa pictures, Polar Express day and class parties. So I will do it for them. I'll hold my babies because they can't. I will shelter them from the news, because they can't. I will pray and remember all that they lost and in doing so I hope to honor them.

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