I waited until I dropped my 13-year old girl off at her middle school. I kept it quiet and calm because my 10-year old was in the back seat. But, much like a faucet you put on slow drip to avoid freezing pipes… my eyes released tears in a steady stream.
Today is an emotional day in our town. Just two weeks after a shooting in Florida shocked our country, this is a day we are now on edge.
A student threatened to shoot up our school today.
The bell just rang 7 minutes ago, and I guarantee you this is going to be a long, stressful day for hundreds, thousands?, of parents.
Many are keeping their children home. I almost did.
I mean, what is the harm? Keep her home… better safe than… well, crap, I just made myself cry again.
Then, logically, you think today is the safest day ever at this school. Our police force is surrounding it. Even school board members, including our 10-foot tall superintendent (Ok, he’s like 6’7″ or something… but, still, he’s tall!) were standing along the sidewalk, waving at us, while their eagle eyes were surveying the area.
Our assistant principal was standing at the entrance of where we drive in… waving, watching. She cracked a couple smiles for me… but I know she’s got the weight of the world… all our kids… on her shoulders.
Then, emotionally, wow…. what if something does happen? We all sit here saying, we KNEW… but…
When does fear win? When do we give in to it and let our insides eat us up? When do we allow a person to make a threat and stop our lives?
Isn’t it what this kid wants? To disrupt? To strike fear in us all?
Do we homeschool?
Do we stop going to concerts?
Do we stop flying to places that we’ve never been? Stop exploring the world?
So, when I pulled into the garage, I looked down in between the front seats, and there was my 13-year old’s phone. We put it on charge to make sure it was full for her today… just in case she needed to reach me… (tears)
And, there it sat. I just stared at it. What do I do? I could go back to the school with it, but police, and school board, and extra security…. They are all trying to keep order and I come bee-bopping in… “My kid forgot her phone… ”
I open my email, to email her teacher and tell her I will bring the phone up. A new message pops up from my girl. Mom, I forgot my phone… I have this to email you, though. If you bring my phone, let me know and I will go to the office. If not, I will email you if I need.
…. if I need. (tears)
I emailed her back. I told her I didn’t want to disrupt the security measures at school. I told her I loved her. She immediately wrote back that she loved me too.
My insides are in pain. I have wet eyes.
In case you are wondering, my 13-year old is the one who said she wanted to go to school. She felt safe because so much security was going to be there. She didn’t want to miss math because they were going over notes she didn’t understand.
She has one class where she has to go outside. During that time, I will probably be a wreck.
I hugged her so tightly this morning… she returned it… knowing I needed her to squeeze back.
I can’t wait to hug her after school.
Until then, you can find me over here… worrying, crying, and just wondering…
Oh, wait… just got an email from her… (seriously, just now)…
Subject line: YYYYYYEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSS
It is a picture of her math test, with “100” marked in red at the top.
I can’t make this timing up. I was just going to launch into a sentence I had already tried to write three times about figuring out how to stop all this. Each thing I wrote sounded too simple and well, not good.
Then, this email popped up.
Right below it, she had sent me a different email with the picture of a new math problem they are doing today.
y = ____(x – ___)(x – ___)
Right above the picture she had typed:
“Look at this! Just look at this!” (Really, I can’t help her with that one…. Jason?!)
This life is so difficult to navigate. I feel like I have no answers on what the correct course of action is. I do know we each have to decide for ourselves… our families.
If it were just me navigating, we would be holed up in a bunker.
However, it is four of us… and Jason and I are raising girls we want to be strong and independent, and sometimes we have to weigh the risk – benefit ratio to make our decision.
I would have been fine keeping her home. Today will be so tough.
But I just got another email from her with the answer to the math problem. So, for now, and I hope forever, we made the correct decision for us.
Now, it’s time to find something to distract me from a day of crying. (Oh, shoot! I need to get my youngest to school!)