A Moment of Silence

On Friday, December 14th at 9:30 am America was permanently scarred by one of the most soul shattering events in our modern history. On Friday, December 21st at 9:30 am America was called to take a collective moment of silence to honor those lost as a national community. I had every intention of being a part of this moment for a number of reasons. I am an administrator at a private school and I have the lives of 220 children and sixty staff members in my hands every day. The events at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut hit me closely because of the work that I do.

They also hit home for another, more personal reason. I am the mother of a six-year-old. She is vivacious and sassy. She loves books and creating art and fashions. She is also a lover of animals and she takes excellent care of our dog, cat, and chickens. She adores me and her daddy, and her aunts and uncles, and especially her grandparents. She is the light of all of our lives. She has an adorable blonde bob and sparkling blue eyes set on a tall lanky frame. She is absolutely perfect in every way and she deserves to live a long and full life, just like those twenty beautiful children did.

I am locked into the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy intensely. I cannot stop reading the news, the obituaries, or the eulogies given to these children by their parents, siblings, and extended families. I’ve had nightmares every night since the tragedy. There are two. In one, I am at Sandy Hook in the office and in the other I am at my school when a similar event occurs. The second nightmare is even more terrifying because of how much I love every person in that building, especially that perfect little blue-eyed girl with the blonde bob in the classroom at the end of the hall.

When I heard of the national moment of silence I knew that I would participate., regardless of what I was doing in that moment. On the 21st just before 9:30 am I was in the bathroom getting ready to take my daughter to a matinée of the Nutcracker. Usually when I am getting ready she occupies herself with books or art. This was perfect because I would be able to just discreetly close the bathroom door and take that quiet moment without her noticing. It was important to me that she didn’t notice because she is perceptive and would have wanted to know what I was doing and I’m not comfortable with lying to her. We are fortunate that, because we don’t have television at our house, she has not heard anything about the Sandy Hook tragedy. I didn’t want to have to tell her about it. At six-years-old she deserves to see her school as a safe place.

At 9:28 am she walked into the bathroom with a book in her hand. It was “Morning Dance” by Todd Hannert. She told me that she wanted to bring this book to share at the next sharing day at school. Then she said, “Hey mom, I think I’d like to read this book to you.” She has recently become a strong reader and she is very excited about it. At first I fretted, thinking about the moment of silence to which I had committed myself. How could I get her to leave the bathroom without hurting her feelings?

Then it occurred to me, there are forty parents in Newtown, Connecticut today that would give anything for the opportunity to have their little child read a book aloud to them. They would give anything for that, and I had it right there in front of me. I decided that, in that moment, the best way to honor those children and teachers was to sit down on the edge of the bathtub and listen to my six-year-old proudly read a story to me. She laughed out loud as she read and described the illustrations to me.

What started out as a moment of silence and grief turned into fifteen minutes of smiling with and listening to my vibrant six-year-old daughter who still sees this world as a safe and beautiful place. We shared love and joy in a small moment in the bathroom. This is the stuff of life and I can think of no better way to heal.

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~ by vegucationmama on December 22, 2012.

2 Responses to “A Moment of Silence”

  1. The use of silence, waiting to be “lead” into a space that is wise and gentle–you found in your daughter. What a great lesson for all of us. Thank you for this human and soothing post, Barb

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