I cried this morning when I dropped my first grader off at school. Not in front of her, of course. All she knows is Mom hugged her extra tight and reminded her that "I love you more than ANYTHING." The 12-year old got the same bear hug and affirmation, but he knew why I was a little more intense.
I don't think any parent, Livingston or otherwise, said goodbye to their kid(s) in a normal fashion today. In the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, we're accutely aware that the kisses we place on the cheeks or foreheads of our children may be the last they ever feel from us.
The reality is, that's no different from any other day. We don't know what's going to happen day to day, moment to moment. Any one of a number of tragedies can hit any of us at any time. That's just the way life is.
A number of my Facebook friends expressed the wish that they could keep their kids at home with them, perhaps bubble wrap them to protect them from evil crossing their path. I wish that, too, but even at home, bad things happen. Kids do silly things, we don't always pay attention, and unbenownst to us, the tiniest microbe can send our precious little ones to the hospital. These are facts we all repress every day.
For me, the events of Friday serve as a reminder that life is precious. It must be welcomed, cherished, appreciated every moment. The children, even when they're battling with each other, whining, or arguing with me, won't be with me forever. They're "rentals," as I sometimes think of them. Here today and, as is the natural order of things, gone tomorrow.
I took solace that the Livingston police were at the schools this morning. When I passed by my daughter's elementary school a few moments ago, a cruiser was still in front of the building. Our teachers in this town are among the best anywhere, caring, warm individuals who are doing the best they can for our kids. While I can't be with my children during the day, I'm confident that the people who work in our schools are committed to safe, emotionally and physically.
So here's a mental hug to all of you who work in the Livingston Public Schools. While they're with you, I know you're doing your best to keep them well and I appreciate that. But I still can't wait until my kids are home so I can hold them and cherish them, once again, for the special souls they are.