Sandy Hook Tragedy Takes Toll on Our Daily School Routine

school busBefore I went to bed last night, I knew today would be hard. But after waking up and starting my normal morning school routine with my son, "hard" doesn't even begin to explain how my day went from the moment I got out of bed until the exact second I saw the sweetest sight my eyes have ever seen -- the school bus pulling up in front of my house at 3:45.

And I know I'm not alone. After the disgusting act of total disregard for human life that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday, the simple task of getting our kids ready for school in the morning, putting them on the bus or dropping them off, and waiting for them to come home in the afternoon will never, EVER be simple again.

Our daily routine has become the furthest thing from simple, and now it's really nothing short of a terrifying, nauseating, (insert whatever emotion you happen to be feeling here), total state of helplessness.


Here's a rundown of how my day went -- I know you can relate.

6:45 a.m. -- Rolled out of bed, got dressed while my little dude sat happily in my room playing with my cellphone, picked out his clothes for the day, headed downstairs, went to open the December 17 spot on his advent calendar, then sat down on the couch next to him and felt the waves of panic starting to set in. Kissed and hugged him and told him how much I love him and tried not to cry.

7:15 a.m. -- Got him a bowl of cereal, and this time, when he asked if he could eat it in front of the TV, I happily obliged. (Felt like an ass for ever worrying about having milk spilled on the throw rug in my living room.)

7:30 a.m. -- Looked at the school lunch menu and asked him whether he wanted to buy popcorn chicken or have me fix him a sandwich. He wasn't sure, and asked if he could have both a sandwich and lunch money. I didn't hesitate for one second to honor his request -- but then as I fixed his sandwich and put the lunch money into an envelope, I started thinking about the 20 children who didn't make it to the lunchroom on Friday. Then I started thinking about their mothers packing their lunches that morning, only to lose their precious babies a mere two hours later. Went over to my son, hugged and kissed him and told him how much I love him, and tried not to cry (and failed).

8:00 a.m. -- Started getting my little man dressed for school, and couldn't stop the tears from flowing because I knew I only had about 15 minutes left to go out to the bus stop. I kept thinking about the mothers who got their kids dressed that morning during the last few minutes of their routine -- and it was the last time they'd ever do it. Hugged and kissed him some more, reminded him how much I loved him, and then tried to reassure him that there was nothing to be afraid of after he asked me why I was crying.

8:15 a.m. -- Took his little hand in mine and walked out to the bus stop, and waited with him there until the boys across the street came out to stand with him. Went back over to my driveway and watched as they laughed, talked, and acted like they do every other day of the week. Smiled a little, but then felt guilty.

8:35 a.m. -- The bus finally pulled up -- it was late because the driver was a sub. Blew my baby kisses and told him to have a good day, then watched it drive away, came back into my house, and cried again.

9:30 a.m. -- Immediately stopped what I was doing because I was unable to think about anything other than what happened at Sandy Hook at 9:30 a.m. on Friday.

10:00 a.m. -- The phone rang, and my heart immediately sank into my stomach. For the first time in my life, I was happy to see a telemarketer's number on my caller ID. Breathed a small sigh of relief.

10:04 a.m. -- Learned that another school district in Connecticut was under lock-down because of a suspicious person who may be carrying a rifle. Resisted the urge to rush over and pick up my son immediately. Cried again.

10:05 a.m. - 3:25 p.m. -- Did my best to concentrate on work, which was next to impossible at times. (Please excuse any typos in my articles today.) Fought the sickening feeling in my gut all day long.

3:30 p.m. -- Heard the bus that drops off the intermediate school kids go by. Heart started racing because I knew I only had 15 minutes of agony left before my angel was back in my arms.

3:45 p.m. -- My son is home. And now maybe I can start to breathe again.

(Until tomorrow morning, of course.)

What kinds of emotions did you go through today?


Image via lori05871/Flickr

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