Just ten minutes after leaving the house this morning my husband called.
“Turn on any news channel. There’s a bomb threat. LAUSD is closed today.”
Six hundred thousand students in a neighboring district were ALL being sent home.
That strange way emergencies have of slowing things down, suddenly hits. Such an odd sensation to have the crazy morning rush of getting four kids out the door, in a very short amount of time, suddenly slowed to a halt.
What do I do?
Text two other moms.
One kid has a holiday party today.
Think of Sandy Hook. My oldest is as old as those kids would be now. The inevitable question comes to mind. If they had had any kind of hint something might happen would they have holed up at home?
Call the office.
A friendly voice answers and gives calm matter of fact information. Sheriffs will be patrolling. The threat is credible but not to our small outlying district. Some parents may choose to keep their kids home.
By now my kids know. Two short minutes of the news and they’ve figured out school may not be happening.
I look at the half-full lunch boxes on the counter and decide. We may be late, but we’re going. We may get there and no one else has shown up but we’re going to get there. I may change my mind, but we’re going to try.
My daughter looks at me and says, “What if something happens?”
“Then your teacher will take you out to the playground with your class and I will come pick you up at the back gate.”
“And if nothing happens?” she asks.
“I’ll see you after school at the front gate,” I reply in the same matter of fact informational tone I had heard on the phone.
That’s it, front gate or back gate. Either way I’d be there. Stay home, and we live in fear. Go to school, and we deal with whatever life gives us.
So we drove up the hill. And as we approached campus, I half expected it to be largely deserted. But, most everyone seemed to be there. The crossing guards, the principal, the last few stragglers getting to class. All there, like any other day.
The car door flew open and there they went. The same have a good day cut short by the closing of the door as every other morning.
I had done it. I had trusted life with my kids even though I wasn’t sure I should.
Like any other day.
Did I tell myself a few feeble truths to pull it off?
And did I go into that holiday party with a volunteer pass and visions of how I’d pull off a Rambo routine, with a kid under each arm and another one on my back, if need be?
As much as the circumstances amplified the level of thought I gave it on this particular day, isn’t it really what we do as parents everyday? Trust that the world is going to be safe place for our kids even if sometimes it is not. So that our kids can live without fear.