I loved being a parent today. I got to chaperone my eight year-old twin daughters’ second grade field trip. It was a morning full of laughter and fun. I got to know the girls’ classmates in a relaxed atmosphere; what a great group of kids. Their innocence made me laugh as they participated in casual conversation. One boy told me he wanted to be a cartoonist when he grew up, even though I think he was born to be a comedian. Another boy declared with conviction that he wanted to be an elbow doctor. Sydney and Taylor snuck in spontaneous hugs and snuggles all morning long. Their youthful spirit, camaraderie and light-heartedness was contagious. My heart burst with grateful joy for this time spent with my daughters and their classmates.
Then I heard the news of the school shooting.
I was crushed by the undeniable presence of evil in this world. Tears formed in my eyes as I read the latest death toll. I shivered with confused disgust as I imagined the horrific acts of violence committed against the innocent and unsuspecting victims. I was flooded with panicked empathy as I tried to imagine the terror of the unknown as parents raced to the school to find out if their children were dead or alive. I was depressed for those children and adults who will be tainted by the trauma of this one day for the rest of their lives.
Then my compassion turned into anger. How could anyone be so cruel? So heartless. So evil. What demons could possibly possess anyone to make the choice to murder an entire Kindergarten class, among others? I just don’t get it.
My mind won’t stop spinning. My heart won’t stop aching.
I will hug my babies tighter tonight. I will pray for those families who can no longer do so. And I will continue to keep a vigilant eye on the safety of my kids, no matter how paranoid I may seem.