Mom, I’m Scared to Go to School

My daughter couldn’t sleep last night. We had kind of a rough evening. After a strenuous two hour math homework marathon with my son,  I ordered a pizza, and the kids and I sat around the table discussing our highs and our lows of the day as we do every night at dinner, but I wasn’t engaged. I was irritable, the weight of the world heavy on my shoulders. I was short with both kids, not at my parenting best.

Rushed showers and stories and prayers, and the kids were off to bed. I poured a glass of wine and sat on the couch to lose myself in the lives of the Orange County housewives, watched the news, and then went to bed. Pretty uneventful.

Around eleven, my daughter came into my room half in a sleep walk haze and said she was scared. After the normal “Everything is okay. You’re safe here,” she fell back asleep.

This happened two more times in the night. I know it’s normal. I know kids go through times when they can’t sleep, and I know it will pass. I’ve been through all of this before, but I woke up tired and cranky, and when I went into her room to help her start getting ready for school, I forced myself not to show the irritation I felt.

I sat on the end of her bed helping her pick out a hat for “hats off” day, when she said it.

“Mom, I’m scared to go to school.”

I furrowed my brow at her. “Why, baby?” I asked with confusion thinking she was going to tell me about some kid being a bully and preparing myself to go all Debbie from This is Forty on him and hope that he too looked like Tom Petty. (Movie reference)

“I’m scared of the lock down drill.” Flashbacks to dinner last night when my head was far away from the conversation, and she mentioned something about it. Shame on me for not addressing it then.

My baby who is five years old, in her first year of school, a kindergartner, is scared to go to school because of a drill where fake bad guys come in and try to get into her classroom.

This is the world in which we live, friends, and it scares the hell out of me.

We spent the rest of the morning discussing the details and what she knew about the drill so far. Thankfully, my fourth grade son was around to help calm her nerves and told her it’s his favorite drill of all the drills (fire, tornado, BAD GUYS COMING INTO YOUR SCHOOL TO HARM YOU!)

She told me that if she’s in the bathroom and hears the alarm, she’s supposed to stop what she’s doing and stand on the toilet but keep her head down so nobody can see her over the top of the stall. “We can’t even flush, Mom. Do you think it’s okay to wipe?,” she asked, big blue eyes wide with worry. I shrugged my shoulders. How would I know? I never had lock down drills.

If someone tries to come into her classroom, the teacher will lock the door, and the students are supposed to find their hiding places.Kids are being taught to hide from bad guys in school.

As we walked to school, I told her that she need not worry, that we live in a safe place and that her focus today should be learning and enjoying time with her friends, and then I promised her a fun weekend. I walked away after kissing her goodbye knowing that I hadn’t been truthful.

Sure, we live in a safe place. We are in the heart of the suburbs where our biggest fear is a bobcat that likes to roam around our neighborhood.

But Columbine High School was safe. Sandy Hook Elementary was safe. Virginia Tech was safe.

Until they weren’t.

My daughter couldn’t sleep last night because this world simply isn’t safe anymore. Not even for a sweet little girl with a heart of gold in kindergarten.

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Be brave. Stay safe. It’s only school after all.

Stars in the Southern Sky

 

 

PicMonkey Collage (2)

“Amanda, light of my life …” I can hear his deep bass voice sing.  I close my eyes and drift back to childhood when he would pick up his guitar and start singing this song to me. I know the rest of the words aren’t very appropriate for a brother to sing to his sister, but it doesn’t matter where I am, I hear those five words, “Amanda, light of my life,” and I feel special. Loved. Continue reading

Did Somebody Say Cake?

I may be a little late to the party, but there is no way I’m missing this one.

Happy Frist Birthday to the Ten Things of Thankful hop!!

I may not write a post every week, but I do in fact read several of the thankful posts, and I am always so inspired by all of you who are able to find the sunshine through some rather rainy days and post about gratitude.

Having a bit of a rainy week myself, and not just because it started out in fact raining, but because…pfft…life, I thought it might be difficult to summon ten things, but as it turns out, I have a lot for which I should say “thanks.”

My mother is going through the mean stage of her dementia this week, so I’ve spent most of the week on the phone to her getting berated and feeling terrible and helpless and wondering what I can do to help my father. In the middle of an almost all out breakdown on my part, I decided it was time to check my mail, which I’m pretty sure had not been done in over a week because…pfft…life.  I sifted through bills and catalogs and junk mail, and then laid my eyes upon an envelope that was addressed to me in writing I did not recognize, and I instantly knew that my favorite Brit in the entire world sent me something.  Immediately, my frown turned upside down and I ran into the house and carefully opened the package excited that there might be my first official glitter bomb waiting to explode. Inside was not just a glitter bomb, but a very pretty decorative ornament that is just so Lizzi, a beautiful and kind letter written way before my mother started her downfall, and a poem that is so perfect and so beautiful that it should in fact be song lyrics.  Wow. To be loved by Lizzi, how did I get so lucky? And the timing was just perfect.

My son plays baseball with other kids his age (7), and although he had a rather good season last season, he has struggled this year and had a difficult time finding his mojo among his team who all seem to be more advanced in skill than he.  I worried for a while that he was going to want to give up with all of his strike outs and missed outs, etc., but this week, something clicked in him as we made up three rained out baseball games, and he found his mojo. He hit the ball, and scored, and even got a kid out on second base, but most importantly, he scored the  tie-breaking winning point, which with aged 7 year old boys is not that big of a deal, but his coach made a huge deal about it, and my son’s esteem soared. He said to me on the way to the car as I was forcing him into a hug with mom, “Hey, Mom. Did you know that won the game for my team?” And the smile that spread across his face, and the pride in his shoulders almost made my heart leap out of my chest.  That boy…sometimes I wonder if he makes the world turn.

Having had such a great game, we treated him to a late dinner at his favorite restaurant, where he got to tell the waiter about his glory and order the dessert of his choice, and while we were there, my three year old daughter finished her dinner and with a messy face and sticky fingers climbed into my lap, and fell asleep in my arms. I’m not sure there’s any better feeling than having your sweet child sleep on your chest.

 

Sleep Baby Sleep

Sleep Baby Sleep

Early in the week, my best friend, Kimberly, called and invited me to the first official “sister day” with her and her two sisters. Being that I have no sisters of my own, I adopted Kimberly and her sisters the minute that we met. These girls and I share our childhood. We grew up next door to each other and lived in each other’s homes. Where they were, I was. Where I was, they were. Without them, I wouldn’t be me. We’ve been through everything together: first loves, first heart breaks, first marriages, teenage pregnancy, loss, so much loss, and we’ve held each other’s hands and loved each other and cheered each other through every heartache and every milestone. This is our 30th year of friendship. That’s right…Thirty Years.  And I have no doubt that thirty years from now, my pseudo sisters will still call me and invite me to sister day. I am so thankful to share my life with these gorgeous amazing women.  Oh, and we watched Dream a Little Dream (a childhood favorite of ours), from which I’m pretty sure I learned life’s most valuable lessons.

So happy birthday to the most uplifting blog hop I’ve seen in the blogosphere.  Cheers!!!

 

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