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.