And internal panic attacks!!
Pretty much sums up my day. Imagine heading out to run errands only to sit at a light and see no less than ten police cars speeding through the intersection. Your curiosity is peaked at two. A little unease creeps in at four. Realization dawns on the direction they are headed. As cars six and seven fly by, unease slides along to mild panic. The only thing in the direction they are rushing is the high school.
Not just any high school, but the very one your child attends. By the time the tenth car whips past, your chest is in a vice grip of contained panic. Your mind begins to race. Panic and fear threaten to take hold of every fiber of your being. You fight to keep yourself in check because surely if something we going on the school would notify you. Right?!
As the hubs and I were out running errands this morning, this was our reality. I didn’t want to believe him when he suggested the speeding parade of law enforcement was headed toward the high school. But, the panic didn’t cease. A text from our son, hunkered down in a third floor classroom, confirmed the thoughts dancing along my mind……something big was happening at the high school.
On the outside, I appeared calm as a lake with no breeze. Inside I was a mess of thoughts and jumbled emotions. My child was locked down in a building and the rumors were flying. Active shooter. Shots fired. Injuries. No injuries. SOMEONE PLEASE JUST TELL ME WHAT IS GOING ON?!?!
Our son kept us informed from inside his classroom. He assured us he was fine and helping keep the class calm. But, my momma mind couldn’t calm down. I knew my child was safe and the authorities had things well in hand. Yet, my mind and heart wouldn’t calm down.
It took me some time but I finally realized why. It wasn’t worry for my son that was hurting me, but worry for the students as a whole. Including the ones responsible for the incident.
The last year and a half has been tough. Like wish for a do-over button hard. And, all to seldom, the mental health of our children is overlooked. I don’t pretend to understand what would drive a child to take a gun to school. There are a plethora of possible explanations. Whatever the reason, it hurts my heart.
Kids have had to deal with unimaginable circumstances recently. Lockdowns. Mandates. Social distancing. Remote learning. Financial hardships. Death. Illness. Family dysfunction. Often without any assistance on coping with these things. It hurts my heart.
I’ve done my level best to bolster the mental health of my own children. During remote learning when my daughter cried because she missed her friends, I all but tap danced on my hands to make her smile. Or when my son hid in his room for hours because the closest he could get to a friend was a FaceTime call and I insisted on a comedy movie marathon. I talked. And asked questions. We prayed. A lot. But not every child has that and today shows that.
This world we live in is hard. There’s so much to process. So much to figure out. Kids need our help to work through it all. To figure it out. To understand it all. Otherwise, we will end up with more situations like today.
My heart hurts for the students today. It hurts for the families of the students in custody. It hurts for the students who are scared to return. For the parents afraid to send them. It just hurts.
Tonight, as I hug my kids ridiculously tight before bed and pray over them, I’ll thank God my kid is safe. And when the thoughts of ‘what if’ start to creep, I’ll pray and thank God my kids are safe. Internal panic attacks and waking nightmares aside, I’m ridiculously happy my kid is safe.