Almost a week and I still cannot find the words. Last Friday, my students and I made gingerbread houses with our eighth grade buddies. We wore glittered antler crowns to a sing-a-long. We created angels to give our families for the holidays. I stood back with a content smile and watched children shine. Then, at dismissal, I heard the horrible news out of Sandy Hook elementary school. My heart shattered. And it has again and again. Each day. With each scrap of news (which I avoid). Each hug from a friend. Each giggle from my own precious children. We lost so much last Friday. And I haven't found a way to put my world back together yet. Not in a way that doesn't feel fragile.
Frost coated the forest as we drove to school yesterday. I stopped to take photos on the way home. Sunlight caught in a thousand glistening jewels that covered pine needles and meadow grasses. The rainbows melted as the sun lifted into the sky. The world changed between one photo and the next.I wanted the beauty to linger. I want all of us to linger.
I teach kindergarten and first grade students. Seeing the ages of the lost children in Sandy Hook crushed me all over again. They are the believers in kindergarten and first grade. They believe they will grow up to be ballerinas and superheroes or maybe a mermaid. They believe in Santa (mostly) and the Tooth Fairy. They believe in happy endings.
I cannot imagine. I will not imagine.
Such breaking. And I had conversations just the day before the tragedy with our special education team about how to help children at my grade level who do not show academic struggles, yet need help with sensory processing, emotional regulation, and/or social engagement. Our school system is set up to help students academically. So for everything else, it seems like we hope children will mature and figure things out on their own. It's tough. A crisis of invisible disabilities.
Then, as a mother, a fierce, desperate breaking seizes my heart. How could anyone harm them?
I can't... I still can't even write about this. These thoughts trigger big reactions in me, from anger to crushing sadness.
So many issues tangle into my thoughts. So I breathe. I notice the light on delicate frozen foxtails.I snuggle with my children. I light candles. I do a little good every day, because all of us doing little goodness inspires more and more. I know that light is the best response to darkness.
And nothing can change the past. But we can change the future. And perhaps by slowing down, by noticing jewels in frozen landscapes, by connecting with each other in meaningful, positive ways... Perhaps then this great sadness that has landed in my heart will thaw.Perhaps.