Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A Mother's Worst Fear: My Children's School Was On Lock Down Today

My girls were anticipating a shortened school day this morning, a planned half day for the county school system. Although, early this morning, I had hoped the schools would consider closing altogether since we had a light dusting of snow and the wind chill made the morning temperature around -1. Not much luck.

I awoke and had my morning coffee and news around 5am as usual. I must have that first, sometimes two, cups of coffee in the morning to get going. I prepared the girls' breakfast, pancakes and bacon, a request from the oldest last night.

The "brats", as I lovingly call my girls to my online friends, started to sleepily wander
downstairs and make their way into the kitchen. The youngest brat made it as far as the family room and wrapped up in the large family quilt that is usually fought over during family time, or watching movies. As always, to end the fight, we all snuggle up close on the sectional and share the quilt. This morning however, youngest brat was colder than usual and asked if she could eat her breakfast in the family room. Oldest brat came down and joined, and I gave in, saying "this one time".

All the while I was worried that "the quilt" would be covered in maple syrup stickiness and would be another item for the daily wash. As it turned out, not a drop was spilled.

The brats quickly ate their breakfast and young brat announced she needed to get to school earlier than usual because she had an early morning test and she wanted to prepare. My older brat was in her normal "can't wake up" mode, and dragging. She finally got it in gear and began to get dressed. I did my usual morning ritual of ironing clothes, signing planners, and dispersing lunch money.

While it didn't take my youngest brat long to dress, older brat came down and needed her medication from a recovering cold. As she stood at the kitchen sink, the bright sun peeking in, I noticed that her navy pea coat had lint and our shih-tzu's hair on it. I got out the lint roller and began rolling her coat to get every piece of lint and hair I could find. Younger brat was in the hallway pacing and saying "let's go, let's g-oo-ooo".

Everyone finally was ready to go. We went to the car that somewhere during all that morning rush, I had started so it would be nice and warm. The brats' school is not even a mile from our home. We arrived at 7:30am. As I do every morning, we all said our goodbyes, I love you's, and have a good day's. My youngest brat, every morning, always turns and looks back at me before I drive off. This morning, she didn't. I knew she was in a hurry to get to class, and didn't think much of it. I drove home as usual, making another mental note of the half day and the time I needed to pick them up.

Shortly before 11:30am, the phone rang, my father asked me what was going on. I replied, nothing. He then told me to turn my TV to the local news channel. I was terrified at what I was hearing. One of the schools that my girls attend, was one of four that was placed on lock down due to threats made by a student. That student could not be located. I panicked. I grabbed every cell phone I have in case one of the girls thought to text me. I could barely open my laptop my hands were shaking so. My thinking was that the local news channel's website would have more information. I finally reached the site and there it was, making it even more real. A red banner across the top of the page.
I felt sick.

Link to the story that had me terrified for my brats some time today.

For a split second, my mind flashed to the movie "Dawn Anna". A movie that I had recently watched that is based on a mother who develops a brain tumor, undergoes surgery then and a long, remarkable, healing period. Dawn Anna happens to be the mother of Lauren Townsend, who was killed in the Columbine shootings. When I began the movie, I was watching for inspiration for my own healing from cancer. At that moment this morning, I thought of Dawn and the parents of any school shooting, and I knew I was feeling the same terror they all did at the beginning. I began to pray.

My story has a different ending, however. I raced to be "in line" to pick my girls up at the car rider's circle, as I do everyday, only earlier today, due to the half day dismissal. I was unsure if the school would even let the children leave. No one knew any news. My calls to the school were met with busy signals. Finally, after about fifteen minutes of waiting in my car, I saw children starting to dart out the doors and go to their waiting mothers and fathers. Even though I could see my two brats, I did not feel as if I had taken another breath until they were inside the car.

My youngest brat told me they were on lock down today, but did not know what for. I told both of them what had transpired on the news and what little information I knew, which was not much more than they knew. They did not seem to sense the seriousness of it all. They were complaining to each other what teacher's room they were "stuck in during the lock down".

I suppose my silence on the short drive home struck my youngest brat. After arriving home, as we got out of the car and approached the door to our home, she hugged me and said, "I won't forget to look back again."


grammyof13 said...

Oh My what anxious moments you must have had. I didn't see how old the girls were, maybe I can read older posts and find out.

Good post. Keep up the good work, I'll be back

SpoiledMom said...

Thank you grammyof13 for your visit. Yes, they were very anxious filled moments, hours, really. My daughters are 14 and 12and are the joy of my life. :)

Thank you for reading and hurry back.

You can also read more of my posts in the "blog archives" at Happiness is Not Material-We Interrupt This Blog For the Casey Anthony Saga. That was one of my first blogs and I changed it to report on Caylee Anthony when she first went missing. I am in the process of moving those posts to this new blog.

Thank you again!

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