Today was not a regular Monday morning.
Today was the Monday morning after an unimaginable, horrific tragedy.
Today was the Monday after a weekend of crying, of watching and rewatching the news, of trying to make some sense out of something that will never make sense.
I didn't sleep well last night. I was anxious about what today would hold. About what conversations we would or wouldn't have.
But I wasn't afraid to walk into school today. I understand that what happened could happen anywhere and that anyone who sets their mind to do something so violent cannot be stopped. I understand that as a staff we are trained to protect our students and ourselves in case such a situation arises. And I understand that we will continue to review, update, and practice our safety procedures.
Today, for all intents and purposes, was a "normal" day. We stuck to our routine and directed any students who wanted to talk about what happened to the guidance counselor. We did not directly address the tragedy with our students and we all made it through the day.
The thing that got to me was watching the kindergartners walking to lunch and seeing how small they were. Immediately my mind flashed to the faces of the children that didn't come home from school on Friday. I thought about all the lives that were shattered. About the siblings who lost brothers or sisters, and the survivors who will have to carry this with them for their entire lives. I wondered how anyone, especially those in Newtown would celebrate Christmas or how they would find the strength to return to school.
And then my kids came back from lunch and we resumed our daily schedule.
So the question becomes how do we move forward in the wake of such a senseless tragedy?
For my own sanity, I need to turn off the news. I need to write about what I'm feeling. I need to spend time with those I love and that love me. And I need to enjoy the small things that make up my day to day routine. I need to listen to holiday music, and buy presents for people I care about. I need to be excited about Christmas cards because it makes me feel good to send and receive mail. I need to work on making every day count.
If I am this affected and my only connection to the incident is being a teacher in a different state, I can't imagine how others are struggling. I can try to empathize and grasp the loss and suffering, but that won't do my soul any good. I can try to accept that with light comes dark, thus with good comes evil. But perhaps all I can really do is take time to truly appreciate the people in my life because you never know how long they will be there for.