I dropped my daughter off at kindergarten today. I was beaming with pride as she walked in and started waving to a friend and ran off with them. She was loving this experience and loving school. New friends have been made, new things are being learned, and she is blossoming into a young girl rather than a little girl. It truly makes my heart swell.
On my way home, I saw another kindergarten dad I had met. He was at the same parent orientation as me. That is when my twisted mind started…
Seeing that father made me think back to that orientation.
Thinking back to that orientation reminded me of the questions I asked.
The questions I asked that day included questions about school security, doors being locked, security guards, guards with guns, etc. These days, those questions need to be asked, sadly enough.
Those questions always remind me of the Sandy Hook tragedy. I started thinking of that sad day and the events that happened.
Thinking about that day made me think of Lyla in public school.
My mind immediately remembered her classroom is far down the hall from the front door.
Thinking of that, I began to imagine the horror that is a school shooting at her school.
As my mind domino’d into worse-case scenario mode, I started to cry.
Driving home in my car after dropping her off like I’ve been doing every day - I was crying. Sobbing. What if…?
I screamed in my car, “GOD, keep my baby safe!”
Then I thought about what I could do. Can I homeschool her? Can just turn around and pick her up? Can I put her in a bubble to keep her safe? What can I do?
Just thinking about it again, my eyes are watering.
What can I do? Nothing. There is nothing I can do. I can’t control other people. I can’t smother my child because of all the what ifs in life. I have to have faith and try my best to believe in mankind. Even though most days I completely embarrassed by the things people are doing all around.
You can’t live life scared. You can’t instill fear in your children. You can’t do nothing afraid of all the what ifs.
But here is what I can do…
I can tell my child that I love her over and over again, every day. I can teach her how to be safe. I can teach her to be kind, considerate, and loving. I can show her how to have compassion. I can let her know that I will always try my hardest to keep her safe from harm. I will teach her not to be a bully. I will teach her to stick up for kids who are being bullied. I can tell her to be brave and strong. I can encourage her to be confident and courageous. I can encourage her to pray and love. I can teach her not to judge people and to make sure she understands what I always tell her - that everyone is different and special in their own way. I can remind her to always treat people they way she wants to be treated.
I can do all those things and more. But there are no guarantees. Bad things happen in this world every day. And those bad things can happen to anyone. Just ask those parents from Sandy Hook.
For now, I need to think positively and not let my mind get down the rabbit hole of what ifs. I need to make sure my daughter feels comfortable. I need to let her prosper and grow while she still has her innocence. Because some day she’ll be a mom too; if she’s anything like me (which she is), she may be going down the rabbit hole of what ifs when her daughter goes to school. And at that point, my job still isn’t done. Then I’ll need to be there for her as a mother to tell her those things, teach her those things, and encourage her all over again.
The world has changed. Bad people are everywhere. Anything can happen. But we still have to live life and have faith. And maybe if we all teach our child about good we can stop some of those bad things from happening.