Today's been kind of a raw feeling day. We've been home all week as Bean's been sick. The days all kind of run together and by today, I'm starting to reach the end of my bag of tricks. It might be a day where I would get frustrated with the fact that I'm playing the same games for the fourth day in a row in a desperate attempt to entertain a toddler. Today though I was happy to do it, although only half of me was present.
Before I moved to where we live currently, and started fighting infertility and then staying home with Bean full time, I taught elementary school in an inner city school. The inner city was a world totally different then the one I grew up in, which was very much middle to upper class suburbia. I felt like a fish out of water and I didn't understand a lot of things when I started. There were times when I worried about my safety. I had kids who lashed out at me occasionally and I always wondered if there could be a parent who did the same. I worried about that less as time went by. One thing I never worried about though was one of those parents coming in and hurting my kids. If they had an issue with me, that was one thing, but nothing ever made me feel like any issue they had with me would spread to my classroom or my school. I worried more about the older kids in the school letting loose one day then an adult.
I remember the day that a student in the classroom next to mine put his fist through the glass on his classroom door. I had no idea what was happening, I just heard screaming and breaking glass. I grabbed the kids in the hall outside my room and locked us all inside. We moved away from the door and read books until I found out that everything was fine. We did multiple drills over the years to prepare us for intruders in the school, chemical warfare, natural disaster, you name it. And I always felt like whatever happened, I would and could protect my kids. I would do whatever I had to because they were my kids.
Then I heard the news from Connecticut today and I was half with Bean and half in my head all day. Thinking about the events from the position of a parent and a teacher. As a teacher, all the sudden I realized how little I could actually do to protect my kids. I was the only adult in that room most of the day. Me and 30 kids. If someone came in and shot me, there would have been 30 kids. Completely defenseless. I can't tell you how horrifying that realization was to me. Or how it will forever change me. Then when I think about my Bean and my baby on the way and I think about taking them to school and leaving them with relative strangers. Strangers that I trust have the same love and dedication as I always had as a teacher. Those strangers who are also relatively defenseless and unable to do more then slow down horrendous things that might happen to my babies. How am I ever going to be able to take them to school? We've left Bean with a babysitter a handful of times. I have such a hard time leaving her. How do I possibly have faith that the world will hold her as dear as I do, when there are so many growing examples to the contrary?
As a teacher, as a parent, as a human being, I am so sick for the families in Connecticut. I can only imagine how much their world must be shattered because mine shattered and I have no physical connection to anyone there. I realize again and again that it doesn't matter where you are, in suburbia, in the inner city, anywhere. Bad, scary, horrifying things happen. Things that we have no control over. And yet somehow it feels like we should be able to control this. We should at least be trying! Kids should have the right to be safe at school, the mall, or the movies. We all should. I don't know how to wrap my brain around any of it. Instead I just keep thinking about those teachers, families, and kids who are ever changed tonight. And I hope I'm not the only one, because these things can't keep happening.