Saturday, December 15, 2012

I looked them in the eyes and I lied

My kids are smart and they pick up on more than I ever think they will.  When I picked them up for school today Joseph casually remarked that there were a lot of pickups today. As we were walking out to the car we walked along with a friend of Elle's and his mother. His mother and I talked a little bit and both of us struggled to keep from crying. Joseph watched our faces and when the three of us got in the car he asked why I was crying.

I hesitated for a moment. I debated not telling them at all. Then I pictured what the kids might hear from other kids or on tv or on the internet and how all those things they hear might scare and confuse them. So I gave them a few of the bare bone facts. I toned things down and explained that the reason this was such a big story was because it happened so rarely. Joseph asked if something like that could happen to them.

I turned around and looked my children in the eye and I lied to them. I told them that there was no way something like that could ever happen. I promised them that they would be safe at school. I told that that their school will still do fire drills and tornado drills and lock down drills and that they would have to follow instructions so that they could be safe during those drills. I told them that those were times to listen to a teacher's instructions and to do it immediately or to listen to what a police officer or a fireman said and to do it quickly. I promised them that that would keep them safe.  

I can't keep bad things from happening to my children. No one can. I can try to prepare them but that's about it. I can't let them live in fear and anxiety. I can't keep them safe forever but I can do my best to make them feel safe. Every day from here on out I'm going to send them off to school with the fear in the back of my mind that they won't come home. What I've tried to give them is the gift of not having that fear.


Emily said...

Oh, Jenny, this made me incredibly sad to read. As a teenager in my senior year of high school I became incredibly eager to graduate for the hopes of leaving school without ever having to go through something like that. So incredibly sad to have this type of fear.

Stimey said...

I did this very same thing. So terrible.

Anonymous said...

The shock of what happened in Connecticut will haunt us for years to come. If only some good can come out of this in the form of gun control for automatic weapons and the ammunition for them. Jen, you did the right thing by lying to your children, I would have done the same. As a parent, I know that my heart is breaking for the parents of the children who were so senselessly slaughtered (tough word, but it's the truth). We can only protect them as much as we can, and then work for that legislation and for better mental health treatment for those who need it. -Grandma Judy

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