After picking him up from school, he looked at me bright eyed and curious. “Momma” he said, “Did you know it’s not safe to wear light up shoes to school?”
I looked at him, for what felt like an eternity… I asked him to repeat himself, surely I heard him wrong. He said it again, “It’s not safe to wear light up shoes to school.” I asked him why he thought that, searching for my own reason, thinking to myself: is it against dress code, surely not, he wouldn’t have said “not safe.” Is it because they are a distraction?
While I’m listing the many reasons in my head of why light up shoes could be an issue, I hear him… faintly, and then I understand what he said.
“You shouldn’t wear light up shoes, because if a bad person is in the school, and you are hiding, they can see the lights when you move.”
. . . . . . . .wow.
All I could muster was a blank stare, and the feeling of my chest tightening was too much to bear at that moment. I just hugged him. I hugged him and thought what world is this.
He was in Kindergarten at the time, just three short years ago. Fast-Forward to present day…
We woke up late. We rushed through the morning routine of “go, go, go”. We barely make it to the drop off line in time to not be tardy; everything in a rush, yet everything so routine. Like so many mornings before, he grabs his backpack, jumps out of the car, and off he goes to learn. Be great little one.
I drive off, just like every morning before, but today is different there is a rock in my stomach. Did I say, “I love you”? Does he know I love him?
Does he know I would give my life for him? Does he know he has such a bright future? Will I get to tell him this afternoon? Will I see him? Will it be just like any other day, or is this the day the tornado hits?
Have you ever practiced an “active shooter” drill as a child or a teenager? I know I have not. We used to practice fire drills and be thrilled that we were able to get out of class for just a little while. We practiced tornado drills, but let’s face it everyone knew tornadoes were probably the least likely thing to happen. Tornadoes are still probably the least likely thing to happen in our area, but our children still prepare for them. The bell still sounds and students still duck under desk, and wait until they are given the all clear before the drill is over; the same with fire drills. It’s normal right? These are the practices that are taught to our children, for safety. Seriously, not a big deal, until it is, until the drills they are practicing shake you to your core.
An active shooter drill is much like a tornado drill. Will it happen? I pray it never will. Could it happen? It disgust me to say, it could.
As a parent of a school aged child, do you know the security measures your school is taking every day to prevent such a disaster? I will admit, I have never once asked the administration at our school, what their procedure is. It’s a non-issue, isn’t it? We go through our routines, day in and day out, until another horror knocks us on our backside and leaves us wondering, where did it all go wrong?
Adults have changed.
Did you read that? I know, I know, you’re shaking your head right now, in complete disgust that I would even mention something like this, but it’s true. Look at how we tear each other down, not only as parents but as humans: woman, man, mom, wife, husband, father, friend, body shaming, orientation shaming. At what costs?
Instead of thinking we know better, we have the answer, ask questions. Talk to our teachers and our community members who hold our children’s lives in their hands daily. Those who help to form the people our children are becoming. More so, talk to your children, even more than that… LISTEN to your children, not just their words but their actions. Do not dismiss what they think is a big deal.
Columbine. Sandy Hook. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. You know their names and the reason for knowing them.
We as a society panic, instantly we want legislation to change. Everyone has an opinion on how to stop the horrendous events that have taken place. As adults we read the news, shake our heads, and give our opinions of how things should be handled. Most of the time we are talking to the blog we are reading or to someone we know, with the same opinion as ours. I wonder why that is. Why do we seek out those who think like us? Is it only to reassure ourselves in our own beliefs and opinions? Is it because we know we would have to defend our words if the conversation was held in mixed company, and if we did, would we be right?
We need to come together as a nation and put an end to these tragedies; somehow, someway. Our children and their safety is not a bargaining chip, not to be played with and used to throw around. These are our babies. This is our future. Let’s help them make sure they get to have one.
Due to the sensitive nature of this post, the author has asked to remain anonymous.