I planned to post something humorous today, but the news out of Oklahoma makes pretty much anything I might write in this post absolutely pointless. All I can think about is another group of young kids who went off to school and never came home. I know it's selfish of me, but I try not to dwell on the horrors the kids at Plaza Towers, and Sandy Hook, and Okawa Elementary School in Tohoku Japan must have faced. My heart breaks for all of the families affected by these tragedies, but when I let myself think about all of the horrible things that could happen to my kids (and that have happened to other people's kids), it's hard to keep moving forward.
It's bad enough to have a kid with a severe peanut allergy who could easily die if someone forgets to be careful or if she decides to sneak food without asking. It's bad enough to have a kid whose ability to understand what is happening around him and communicate those things to others is impaired. Sending Sky and Pink P to school has always required me to suppress my anxieties and to believe that everything will be okay. Stories like what happened yesterday make it hard for me to keep believing the lies I tell myself.
They make it hard to even breathe.
Of course, I don't tell my children any of this. Instead, we pray for the families who have been affected and thank God for keeping us safe. We make sure they know where the epipen is and how to call 911 and what to do if someone threatens them or makes them feel uncomfortable. We talk about our emergency plans in case of tornado or fire.
But, on days like today, it all kind of reminds me of the bousai cushion I had to make for Sky when he attended Japanese preschool.** The idea is that the cushion should be worn on the head in case of an earthquake.
And, I'm sure having a cushion is better than not having one, but I'm also pretty sure that in the case of a major earthquake and/or tsunami, the bousai cushion is totally useless. In fact, in my opinion, the only thing bousai cushions are good for is making parents feel a little less anxious about sending their children off to school. And, to be honest, I'm kinda glad the school tried to ease my worries, even if only a little.
Because, in the end, my only choice is to act like today is like any other. Of course, this morning, I prayed a little harder and held my kids a little closer. But, I also took a deep breath and dropped them off at school like I do every morning. After all, all we can do is love them fully and teach them what we know, and then we have to remind ourselves to let them go.
** This is not that cushion. It's one you can buy on the internet at http://store.shopping.yahoo.co.jp/roco/bousai-cushion-pnk-s.html. I'm not suggesting you do this, by the way.