I wish I could turn it off. But I'm somehow drawn to the stories and the people and the tragedy. I'm thinking it's because no matter how many times I hear it or what new information I learn, I just can't make sense of it in my mind. If it somehow made sense then I could rationalize it all. But I can't.
This morning when I arrived in my classroom, I was so happy to be there. I was anxious to see my students. The teachers were prepared, as we are every day to teach, nurture and take care of each student. We would get as much strength today from them as they got from us. I noticed the teachers held their gaze a bit longer when greeting each other this morning. Parents gave us hugs and pats and looks of confidence and trust. Our principal was omnipresent, as was the feeling of unity and safety. It made me very proud to be a teacher today.
One of the stories that resounds with me is the story of Charlotte Bacon, who would have turned 7 in February. On the morning of the shooting, Charlotte had begged and pleaded with her mom to wear a new pink dress and white boots that had been bought for the holidays. Her mother finally relented and Charlotte was probably on top of the world as she arrived at school in her new dress and boots. I can picture the bright smile on her face, the proud look in her eyes.
Today, I thought of the many times I had not allowed my own daughter to wear that special outfit or get her ears pierced when I thought it wasn't time or she was too young. I thought of special things even I have "saved" for a special occasion. The special piece of jewelry or the favorite sweater or shirt. The new pair of shoes or coat that I would wait to wear. Silly things, like a new baking sheet that I have saved for a special time to bake.
I'm sure Charlotte's mother was so grateful that she allowed her daughter to wear the new dress and boots to school on Friday. I think we can all learn an important lesson from her. After all, what are we waiting for?
So let's go ahead and wear the new pink dress. And the new boots. That special tie or shirt. Let's use the new bowl or carry that special purse. Let's write with that special pen on that beautiful paper.
Tomorrow, I'm gonna wear the new coat I've been saving for a special occasion. Because it is a special occasion.