We Talked About Something Sad At School Today

There was a lot of talk on twitter last night about whether or not mothers were telling their children about Friday’s school shooting. Should all school children be told before they go to school Monday morning? Would they hear about it on the bus or at school? What would they hear?

I chose not to talk to Juliana this weekend for several reasons including my emotional state about the situation. There was no way I was capable of having a calm discussion and I knew I would scare her more if I tried to tell her and couldn’t stop crying.

Juliana has a very tender heart when it comes to tragedies. After the earthquake in Haiti two years ago, she was upset for weeks. She didn’t sleep well, she was terrified that our house would fall down, she asked me every day where the people without homes were sleeping at night, she wanted to send her clothes and toys to the children without homes, and she still asks about the earthquake.

I assured her every day that we wouldn’t have an earthquake like that in Pittsburgh and that we lived in a strong brick house and we were safe. But this is different. How do I tell her that she is safe and no one will ever hurt her? Those kids felt safe when they went to school last Friday and they weren’t.

Juliana didn’t feel well yesterday and I figured she must be coming down with the stomach bug that sent many of her classmates home last week. Part of me hoped that she would have a fever this morning and she would have to stay home.

This morning Juliana was ready to leave for school early so we sat on the couch together and I hugged her close. Then I walked her to the bus, squeezed her hand and told her I loved her (like I do each morning), turned around and cried while I walked into the house. Logic says she would be perfectly fine at school, but my mommy heart wanted her close to me.

Generally when I go to Juliana’s school, I push the buzzer and the door unlocks. I had to stop at her school today to pick-up some books. When I pushed the buzzer, a voice came over the intercom asking what I needed and after I answered the door was unlocked. I’m sure a lot of schools are reinforcing policies and enacting new ones today.

Juliana happily bounced off the bus after school today. She had a blue day (good) and was in a great mood.

I asked about her day and if it was a normal day. She said that they didn’t have morning meeting, instead they talked about something sad. She told me what her teacher had said to them and then asked for her after school snack. I asked if she had any questions and she replied, “No, it’s too scary, I don’t want to talk about it.” And she’s right, it is scary and very sad. 7-year olds shouldn’t have to hear stories like this.

I expect that there will be more questions, but hearing the news from her teacher seems to have worked out ok. She considers her teacher to be smart and believes what Ms C tells her. If only I could eat a bowl of ice cream and forget about the news.


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