The Toughest Conversation I Couldn’t Navigate With My Daughter

My daughter, as precocious and curious as she is, wastes no time asking question when she doesn’t understand something. She will sit in front of you, glasses placed slightly down on her nose, with scrunched up eyebrows and a perplexing look, and “why” and “what if” you to death. Even with my full mommy armor on, sometimes she stumps me.

My daughter had a lock down drill this past week at school. As she as talking to her father, as he attempted to explain to her what it meant, and not to be afraid when it happened, she asked a question that has stayed in my mind and on my heart all week.

She asked, “Why do bad people come into schools?”

At the tender age of five, she is very wise beyond her years. She asks questions that literally make me stop in my tracks and think; and to be so young and keep me on my toes like this amazes me every day.

I felt so lost and…helpless when such an important question was brought to her father and I, and neither one of us could answer. The sad truth is, as many families who have not had to endure the fear that most others have when they receive a call that there has been a shooting at their child’s school; and even worse, have been injured or unfortunately died as a result, I’m sure there are several families in this world who wake up, prepare their children for school, hug and kiss them and say a silent prayer that they are kept safe from harm that day. It’s a prayer I have prayed ever since my daughter began leaving me and placed under the supervision of someone else, since she was eight weeks old. It’s painful to think that something so unpredictable can happen, and as much love and protection you place over a child, you cannot protect them from something even you cannot prepare for.

Over the summer, I saw a post where someone (cannot recall who) was selling bullet-proof backpacks for kids. Let that marinate: bullet-proof backpacks for school-aged children. It’s a sad day in 2019 when parents are at the mercy of choosing between a regular book bag, and splurging extra money on a bullet-proof one; because as parents, would you not want to go to such lengths just to provide any extra layer of protection for your child?

Every time I watch the news and see a school shooting; whether it is an elementary, middle or high school, it is a highly emotional experience for me. Ever since I became a mother, my level of sensitivity, fear and paranoia has heightened at the thought of anything happening to my daughter that I could not control or manage. As parents, we are protectors, providers, teachers, guiders. We do all that we can to give our children the very best and move mountains for them. The toughest part is knowing that no matter what you do, you never know what the next second of the day can bring.

Just thinking about the situation, makes me speechless when I try to articulate my emotions towards it. Something so senseless and violent happening to children is an uncomfortable feeling that I will never be able to stomach. I can only continue to pray that my daughter is continuously protected in my absence.