I was planning to blog about Ava's Christmas list today, but I feel like I have to address the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary school instead.
Like so many of you, I have a child who is the same age as those innocent children who were so ruthlessly murdered on Friday. Ava is in first grade, and on Friday morning, I went to Ava's school, where her first grade class was putting on a play. There were lots of parents and grandparents coming in and out of the school that morning, but it never occurred to me that we could really ever be in any real danger there. We're supposed to check in and out using the computer in the office, but frankly, it's pretty easy to just walk on in. And besides, as we know from Sandy Hook, there are some people who can not be thwarted by any security measures at all.
In all honesty, I have never given all that much thought to safety at our school. I realize now how much blind trust I have put in our teachers, our principal, and the rest of the school staff. If I've ever hesitated in dropping her off at school, the hesitation has come from my concerns for her happiness, not her safety. It's elementary school, after all. And the school is in a really good neighborhood. It's small. We all know each other.
On Friday, upon hearing the devastating news, I could not wait for Ava to get home. I felt anxious, ready to have all of my family together, safe in our house. Morgan called me and said that no matter what our kids' behavior that night, they got a free pass. We just felt so lucky to have them.
That feeling continued throughout the weekend for me, especially as more and more details emerged out of Connecticut. I felt like I just kept looking at Ava and Davis with newfound awe. I'm in awe of their innocence, and of the future that lies ahead for each of them.
Last night, we attended the Joy Gift Service at our church. This is a family service, and appropriately, no mention was made of Sandy Hook. However, I could not stop the tears when I watched Ava's choir - all first and second graders - and thought of those young lives that were so violently taken. I looked at the faces of our sweet children and wondered for the umpteenth time how in the world someone could do what Adam Lanza did?
I can't imagine what those parents are feeling now. I can't imagine how traumatized the survivors are. Kids are resilient, though, and their lives will go on. I was tucking Ava in last night and couldn't help but think of the poor parents who have to pass by empty bedrooms now. My heart is so heavy for them.
I suppose that if I had to look for a silver lining in all this, it would be the renewed appreciation for my children. Oh, I know it won't be long before they're making me batty again, but for now, I am reminded of just how delicate the balance of life truly is, and how lucky I am to have my sweet children with me.