Yesterday was a harrowing day. In all the pitfalls and struggles that I imagined about parenting, a school lockdown was not among them. Bird and Deal, in fourth and second grade respectively, happily trounced off to school (on time!). Minutes after getting home from dropping them off, I heard news of a shooter in a nearby shopping center and the gunman was on the loose. I saw on Twitter and Facebook that their school was on lockdown. Panic. Just that morning Deal had asked me about lockdown drills as I was tying his shoes. He asked me what the alarm would sound like and what would cause a lockdown. I told him that I didn’t know because we didn’t have lockdown drills when I was a kid. I told him to just follow instructions and that school is a safe place. I dismissed the conversation and was later struck by his prescience.
Props to my sons’ teachers, Wake County school system’s leadership, and all the police officers who kept our children and community safe yesterday. Our debt is impossible to repay. And so today, on the eleventh anniversary of the attacks of September 11, I bow in reverence to those who protect us.
This morning on the drive to school we turned on the radio just as the moment of silence began. Bird, Deal, and I, in uncharacteristic fashion, sat silently. I choked up and wiped a tear from beneath my sunglasses. The boys asked me if everything was safe now. They asked me again where I was on 9/11, if the sky really was blue and clear, how I knew their daddy was safe, and if it would happen again.
“We’re safe. You’re protected. You’re cared for. You’re loved. We’re safe” I told them.
And then they bounded out of the car. For a moment, I wanted to tug at their backpack straps and hold them close just a bit longer.