When we live in a world where we have to teach Kindergarten through High School students lock down and active shooter drills, it’s one of despair and a feeling of helplessness as a parent. We send our children to school very day and expect that they will learn, be safe, make new friends, explore new learning and make it home safely. Well, that has forever changed for my family.
We recently relocated to the Parkland area where the shooting occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and it has shaken me to my core. How do we shield your 4 -year old angel from all of this sorrow and evil? How do we explain it to him if he asks? These and may other questions have kept me up over the past few days. There was no sleep over the past few nights thinking about what has occurred in our community.
We are realists and know that there is evil in the world and that bad things happen everyday. What we don’t think of or should have to consider, is that this is commonplace and normal. The incidents we are being sensitized to see as normal and occurring at schools is not acceptable and normal. I just cannot see why our leaders and others see that this is the new normal. We know that while in school our son will possibly get scratches and bruises playing, maybe a broken limb playing a sport, loose a tooth playing or by accident or other non life threatening injury. What we can’t fathom is that there is a possibility for this to happen to anyone or ourselves.
Will our new reality be making sure on their way out of the door or dropping them off that we make sure they have their books, lunch and remember their active shooter drill protocol? We should not and cannot be sensitized to thinking that one of the normal occurrences is that he and other children gets gunned down while in school. How do I wrap my mind around the devastation that parents are handling right now with knowing they will never hug their child again, see them compete in their favorite sport, play an instrument, graduate from high school, college, get married and have children. One of our neighbors in our community lost their son in this massacre. The grief is overwhelming for them and I feel helpless in being able to bring any comfort. I can only offer words of sympathy and pray for them to find solace during their time of grief.
My heart is broken for the families and for what we now have to expect as the new normal because there is not enough will for everyone that can change the course we are on the take action. One thing is evident is that the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have become the leaders in this tragedy and will not stand down and wait to see what will happen. They will have support from our community to bring about the change that is needed to ensure more of our children are not victims of gun violence in our schools.
Every day we hug RJ a little longer and take extra time enjoying the silly moments. It should never be taken for granted that our kids are safe in school. This week has confirmed that for me in the most horrific and painful way.
Praying for the families who lost their children, our community and country. We need something to change.