My little one is on the seesaw She rocks up and down bouncing bouncing. "Faster, no stop! OK, go!" she tells her older friend with legs long enough to reach the ground. I stand a few feet away with the other parents watching and chatting. "Did you see the email about the Lock Down drill?" I ask. Heads nod. "I'm glad they told us ahead of time. Now I know to be ready to talk about it," says a dad.
But I'm not ready. I don't know what to say. I start to cry just thinking about it. We did drills like this at my school after 9/11. But that was different. The threat seemed farther away. Or maybe it was just because I didn't have children back then. I was a teacher, I loved my students, but they went home to their own families. I am so sad. I just wish that my children were not living in a world where Lock Down drills are now added to the list after Fire, and Hurricane.
"They are going to be fine," says a mom. "I just don't worry that much, maybe I should," she adds. No, I think, I wish I could worry less. We compare notes about our childhoods and how much freedom we had or didn't have. "I used to play outside until dark," I say "Now I worry about playing in the front yard because there are SUV's that zoom past our house going 45." My friend nods. "I just think they are going to be fine either way. Protective, not protective, I'm just sure our kids are going to be OK." I want to hug her. I need some of that quiet security.
My first grader comes home and within ten minutes is describing how the new Lock Down Drills work. Yes Drills, there are two versions. Soft Lock Down and Hard Lock Down. Don't cry, don't cry I think, just listen. Are you kidding, I think, Hard Lock Down? Is this prison? Later as we are getting ready for bed she says, "Let's play Lock Down." I follow along as she describes the procedures. We end up huddled in the corner in semi darkness. We hug for a moment and then she stands up. "OK, will you help me turn on the lights, let's read." I am holding it together. This is good, she's working it out in her play. Hold it together, hold it together I think.
After an extra chapter of "fabumouse" Geronimo Stilton, a nice long back rub and a lullaby, my first born is breathing deeply next to me. I feel her warmth through the covers. This is all normal for her. Tears stream down my face.