the difference of today

I think I thought the world would be different this morning. It felt different. But as morning routines took over it became just like any other Monday. Typical of Monday’s, everyone was a little sleepy and a lot late. My daughter stumbled into the kitchen with her shirt on backwards. “Genius” quipped her brother. I rolled my eyes and took my coffee to the bathroom forgetting the difference of the day. It’s the same as any other school morning.

Moments later I noticed Colton puttering around my room. He’s not doing much. Picking up a business card off the dresser, not reading it and laying it back down. Turning a dime around and around his fingers. Picking up a pocket-knife, opening then closing the blade. He notices me watching him. “You can’t take that to school,” I say. “I know,” he answers. “I mean it,” I feel the need to say though I know he knows the rules. I don’t think I was telling him to remind him but rather to keep him talking. He seemed to want something. “I know,” he says. “Especially after Friday.” Ahh….there it is. ”All those kids. He just shot all those kids.”

I don’t want him to know. I don’t want talk to him about this because I don’t know what to say. “Did you hear about the little boy?” I asked. He shook his head. I repeated what I heard Obama say during his memorial speech. “There was this little boy. When the rescuers came he told them, ‘I know karate, don’t worry, I’ll lead the way out.” Colton smiled his ½ smile…the smile that he doesn’t mean but that he gives to me when he wants to make ME feel better. “Did you hear about the teacher? The one that saved her children by hiding them in closets?” I can’t take away what happened but I desperately want to point out the hero’s, the hope of that day for my little fellow. “Yeah…she told HIM they were in the gym and he shot her.”

I want to cry. He shouldn’t know this. This shouldn’t exist in his world. This shouldn’t have happened. I can’t comprehend it so how can I expect a 13-year-old child to make sense of it? I can’t tell him it will be okay because it won’t be. I can’t tell him not to worry because I am worried. I can’t lie to him, I can’t tell him the truth.

“I am scared Momma.” He says without embarrassment, without shame.

“It’s okay to be scared,” I answer fighting back tears. “I am scared, too.” I admit. He waits. “Today, just look around. Where would you go if this happened at your school? What would you do? Just have a plan.” He nodded and cocked his ½ smile again and then was gone leaving me to watch his beat up, neon-yellow, overloaded, low hanging book bag walk out the door.

What should I have said? What advice do I offer? I never feared going to school. I never worried of gunman or terrorist attacks. I never had to have an escape route planned for each class. He’s looking to me for words of wisdom, for words to make him feel better but I have none. I can’t offer him anything.

I think I thought today would feel different…and it does. Today we added fear to our morning routine.


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