Sunday, December 16, 2012

The fictitious land of Far Away

I'm sorry I haven't written since Thanksgiving. Since I started working from home last spring, every hour has a price tag attached to it and by the end of the day, when the dishes are finally done and the kids are finally in bed, I'm toast.

Since I blog from an unnamed town in Connecticut, I wanted to write to let people know that my family and I are okay. We live in the southeastern part of the state, "far away" from Newtown (anything more than a 45-minute drive is "far away" in Connecticut speak). 

Like most people, I spent the weekend wandering around the house asking Why and wiping away a steady stream of tears. We have been careful about listening to the radio and watching the television because we didn't want Junior to hear the news reports, but details have trickled in, and they're horrifyingly sad.

The tragedy didn't really hit home though until the communication started coming in from Junior's elementary school. It has left me speechless and fumbling. Elementary school was supposed to be about learning numbers, and how to write and read. How to make friends on the bus and how not to spill your juice box on your school work. All the sweet, innocent stuff. Instead many parents are reading letters like this:

Is there anything more heart-breaking? Honestly, I don't even care about my own distress—I have 38 years of coping skills under my belt. I've put in my time to become desensitized and weathered and strong. Elementary school kids? Losing a tooth is earth-shattering, never mind a friend or teacher or principal.

Another piece of communication reassured parents that one of the senior staff just got back from specialized SWAT team training. "This will be instrumental in planning future lock-down drills" the email read. I don't know which reaction is right: "Oh, good" or "What have we become?"

Fumbling. I am fumbling.  

This weekend reminded me a lot of 9-11. I was home sick from work when it happened. My mother and I were on the phone, watching the news as the towers fell. We cried as we watched the images of frightened people, covered in white ash, walk down the streets. The next moment my mother was at my apartment, hugging me like her life depended on it.

I now have given that same hug to my children about 4 million times. 

During times like this, we are so helpless. We are so vulnerable. And it is so gut-wrenching and bittersweet that who and what we are reaching out to for comfort (children, spouses, parents, loved ones, pets) are here with us so fleetingly. It just isn't fair.

I'm going to go crawl into bed with Junior and kiss his face. There never really is a "far away" when something like this happens.

Never ever.


Mrs. Tuna said...

I am not usually teary but watching the president read the names of the children tonight made me weepy.

Patty Woodland said...

I don't have children and I've been crying.
Maybe this will be the one that actually causes some meaningful changes

Frogs in my formula said...

I truly hope so.

FoN said...

I'm glad you guys are okay. I still lurk around here and I was worried! xo

DianaL said...

So happy to hear you and your family are "far away" from the tragedy. I agree, though, that there is nothing too far away from reality. My son is in Kindergarten and I live in California. Friday morning I could NOT stop the tears and had to sit on my hands several times to keep from calling the school to check on him. I always "annoy" my son with hugs, but for some reason he entertained every one of my squeezes this weekend and he has NO idea of what happened. He has no media input...

Keely said...

Thank you for posting, I was worried.

I felt sick all weekend about the tragedy. I'm in Canada and it's not 'far away'. My heart just breaks for those parents and families.

Janatude said...

I know how you feel. Every night when I go to bed, I think about it, and when I wake up. There's a reason it feels the same as 9-11; we're practically living in a war zone until we get some gun regulation in this country.

Janatude said...

I know how you feel. Every night when I go to bed, I think about it, and when I wake up. There's a reason it feels the same as 9-11; we're practically living in a war zone until we get some gun regulation in this country.

judemiller1 said...

What have we come to, indeed!

SmartBear said...

I was wondering about you...not knowing how close you were. Unfortunately I was the person at work given the task of writing such letters to our parents. It sucked.
The Sunday after the shooting, we were at church. Normally the children go straight to Sunday school from service but that day, the children's choir had prepared to sing. So the church was full of small children and families and when they finally were dismissed from Sunday school....something happened in that room. Everything shifted. The sadness in the room was palpable. It was as if we all embraced that innocence for their benefit for a moment until they left. We hadn't planned to tell our kindergartener at all. No way. He's too young. And then that day we realized...he's in elementary school now. Kids are going to come to school talking about it! He won't understand. We allow absolutely no gun play in our house. How will we explain this? It was the shittiest conversation ever.
I hope America listened to all those bells on Friday as they rang out. I hope they were listening and decide to do something.

Meg Martin said...

Glad to hear you're ok. Even down here in NZ, the news hit hard. The President's speech right after made me cry and as I explained to my own children what had happened, it was hard to come up with a reason WHY that they would understand. Then I realised that none of us can understand.

Meg (previously of Mind of a Mad Woman)

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