I took my kids shopping today.
A friend of mine surprised me last last night with a gift card for each child to Target, so I wanted to take them and let them pick out their own slippers as a Hanukkah present. They're so young that they still love being able to pick things out themselves, to play at being big kid, that I thought we'd make a day of it.
I left as the Jehovah's Witnesses that keep pestering me were pulling up, but that doesn't matter.
We went and picked out slippers, presents for Daddy, and then for lunch at McDonald's and the fabric store for craft supplies. They had their moments of not awesome, as they are still so young, but all in all it was a successful trip and I was proud of myself, for getting us out and keeping my cool and getting things done.
As we were headed home, though, my phone would not stop dinging with text messages. Enough that I was suddenly worried something was terribly wrong and needed my immediate attention.
I'm a public school teacher's wife, after all, in an urban district. It has never escaped me that text may be the last way I ever hear from my husband, in a tragedy.
It wasn't him.
It wasn't his school.
But it was someone else's.
I get my closest friends' tweets sent as text to my phone so that I don't miss something important.
And while I was out with my children, my worst nightmare as a mother and as a teacher's wife was playing out in Connecticut, at a primary school. And they were talking about it, about gun control, about homeschooling (don't get me started on that completely flawed line of thinking and living in fear) and my phone couldn't even keep up, becoming a constant blur of dings and vibrations.
It is taking everything I have not to break down.
My thoughts on this all isn't clear yet. I'm still reeling, listening to Kiedis play in his room while he should be napping, Kyle's voice ringing in my ears from the quick call I made to his classroom to check in, to tell him the news, to hear his voice because in moments like these, I need to hear him and know that he is okay and alive and teaching.
I need to hear him not be afraid because it soothes me and bolsters me because fear, fear is not what will make these situations better. Fear is what makes these situations happen in the first place.
I believe in public education. I believe that I should be able to send my children and my husband to school every day and not have to fear for their lives. Getting an education should never come at the risk of death. Giving an education shouldn't be at one's peril, either.
I still have a lot of feeling and thinking to do on this, mourning for those babies not that much older than mine, and those teachers, those spouses and parents and siblings who lost someone today too. The babies are tragic, but please don't forget the adults who gave their last protecting the children and each other.
And today, today I again pray that I never have to know this loss in my family as I hug my children and my husband and remember how lucky we are to have each other every single day.