I’ve been avoiding writing this post for as long as I can. Friday was Addie’s birthday and even though I didn’t get to see her on her birthday, I’m pretty sure she had the best birthday of her life.
I’ve mentioned in the past that I avoid hearing and reading stories about tragedy that involve children. It’s one of those subjects that I’m just not capable of handling. I hear about a tragedy or read about a tragedy that involves children and I dwell on that tragedy for weeks as I picture my kid being the subject of whatever tragedy that is stuck in my mind.
Recently, there was a tragedy in my hometown that involved a baby, a mistake, and a hot car. It happened right here and when the news broke locally all I could do was think back about where I was at the time that child was struggling to stay alive. In my mind I kept trying to pull myself out of where I had been in the past and place myself somewhere close to where that child was so I could save the child, because in my mind that child wasn’t just any child anymore, that child had transformed into Vivi and I was heartbroken.
Yesterday’s tragic events are no different.
I didn’t know anything tragic had happened on Friday until I stopped in at the gym during an early lunch. The sound on the TV wasn’t on, so the only clues that something had happened were the headlines at the bottom of the news stations. At first the stations indicated that there was another shooting at a school. Next thing I knew there were 3 people dead, then 10, then 18, then 21, then 28, then, I don’t know. I couldn’t take it anymore because the news kept referring to the dead as children, and I avoided the news and Twitter like they were carrying some infectious disease for the rest of the day. A disease that grasps you and never lets go.
A week ago as I drove Addie home from somewhere we had been, she asked me why her teachers called for an immediate search of all the students’ belongings. My lawyer brain immediately took over and I grilled Addie over what happened as I analyzed the legality of the search. Why? Pure habit, really. As I was halfway through the analysis reality hit home and I remembered that these searches are done to keep my daughter safe. I explained to Addie that sometimes people do bad things and sometimes they do those bad things at school and to children. I also explained that her teachers were trying to do everything they could to make sure she could go to school and then come home to us safely.
As I explained these things to Addie I had the thought in the back of my head that she will never have to endure any of the types of things we’ve seen on the news. I couldn’t help but think that those things just aren’t that common. But then the events from Friday happened and I’m not so sure anymore and that scares the hell out of me.
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