This morning had so much promise. Yesterday was Karli’s birthday, so we hung out with friends, ate lots of food, and had a good time. My finals week is over, and all that’s left is the massive pile of grading. This morning I woke up to the divvying-up of the Festivus Secret Santa presents. This post was supposed to be about how awesome it was that my Secret Santa chose Giants season tickets and a bad-ass pizza oven for me. My Secret Santa gets me. Then I was supposed to challenge Emily, the host and figurative head of our little blogging family, to the Feats of Strength. Festivus is a magical time of year.
But you know what happened next. If you don’t, then your great-granddaughter probably printed this out for you to read. Ask her if you can see the internet for a few minutes.
It’s all I’ve really been able to think about since mid-day. Like much of the country, I’m sad today. I’m sad that we’ve seen this type of thing before, and I’m sad that we’ll—in all likelihood—see it again. It’s a different kind of sad, though. When the Columbine shooting happened, I was in high school, and I watched the news for hours. I was shocked as I watched other high school students climbing out of windows and mourn the loss of their classmates. When the Virginia Tech shooting happened, I was in grad school, and I was shocked as I watched fellow college students and teachers flee from their own campus.
For the first time, though, I’m seeing this tragedy as a parent, reading about students too young to know about these things who are being massacred, watching their classmates be massacred. I’m more than shocked. I hurt.
At one point, as I was reading all the information about what was happening, Karli asked me if I was crying. No, I said. But I was damn close. It was hard.
This happened nowhere near us, but it made us ask questions.
How can we make sure Squatch doesn’t end up as the type of person who does something like that? How do you talk to your kid about these things when they happen? What if this had happened in Squatch’s class? Or to Squatch?
I don’t think we have answers to any of that. I don’t think any parent plans on needing the answers to those questions. All I can come up with would be to answer all those questions in the same way: We make sure Squatch knows his parents love him, couldn’t love him more.
Right now, at the end of the day that ended up so far from its promising start, I’m left with simply being relieved that my kid is still too young to know anything about what happened today halfway across the country. Today he laughed with his mommy and daddy, he visited with his grandparents, he came thisclose to finally rolling all the way over, and he laughed some more. Today he doesn’t have to know anything else. For that one thing I can be grateful right now.
Tomorrow I can be grateful for Giants tickets and pizza ovens.