I have been so filled with shock and emotion for days now following the tragedy in Newtown, CT, I’m still at a loss for words. So many innocent lives lost, I can’t stop thinking about it. I can’t stop thinking about the little children, the teachers and their families. The grief these families are experiencing is inexplicable. I’ve been hugging my children and appreciating every little thing every day.
How has news of the horrific tragedy affected your home?
I know so many parents who can’t stop thinking about it or talking about it. Just when I start to think I’ve reached a new “normal,” I hear something new about the massacre and start crying again. My daughter kissed me goodbye when I dropped her off at school recently, and I noticed a Barrington police patrol car in front of the school, and I lost it again.
As a parent, it hits me to the core. This national tragedy has hit so close to home for so many parents, despite the ongoing investigation, we will be wondering “Why?” for years to come. December 14 will be a date this nation will never forget.
After a local mom asked me how I was going to handle sharing news of the tragedy with my two children, it got me thinking. “Do I even want to tell them?” “Will it scare them even more?” “If I don’t, will we regret it later if it gets brought up at school?”
I believe it’s a personal decision. A decision that families have to make on their own.
After the initial news broke on Friday, we told my 11-year-old son. We told him that something terrible had happened at a school in Connecticut. We told him that many lives were lost, that we love him and that we will always strive to keep him safe. We were very “broad strokes” with our delivery, but we decided he was at an appropriate age. We did not tell my daughter, who is eight, until Sunday. We were even more “broad” with our delivery. But we wanted them to understand that they may hear about it, and if they have any questions, they can always ask us. And that we love them more than life itself.
Like so many Americans, I have read, seen and heard dozens upon dozens of news stories about the tragedy on the Internet, the radio and on television. Everywhere you look, there is news of the tragedy, the shooter, the victims, the survivors and the families.
But there is one thing that we do at our house that has actually helped ensure that our children are not terrified even more. Although we watch TV, we don’t keep 24-news stations on 24-hours a day. And we don’t watch local news with our kids. We only watch news at night, after our children are asleep. A few moms I know said that since Friday, they have made a “No TV without permission rule” in their home. For example, The Food Network is OK, but they should not be channel surfing without permission. By no means is the rule applicable in every home, but it has worked for us. Again, it's up to you as a parent.
My son watched as 26 flares were released into the sky at Gillette Stadium before the Patriots game on Sunday night, in honor of the 26 lives lost at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I was in tears and could tell my son was sad too. And I could tell he understood why many in the crowd had tears in their eyes. I want him to know about the tragedy, but as a parent, there is a part of me that doesn’t want him to know more than he should at such a young age.
How you can help the families of Newton, CT:
So many people want to know how they can help the Newtown community, from Teddy Bears to monetary donations via the United Way and The Red Cross. This URL provides more information. http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/relief-agencies-assistance-newtown-families-005147080.html
I wish there was a way to bring a moment of silence over the Internet in honor of these families. May your family find peace this holiday season.