[This post originally appeared on the Heartwired Writing Facebook page -Katie]
My eight year old daughter rushed to the car in the after school pick-up lane. Something wasn’t right. Her face, pinched and pale, looked toward me with wary eyes.
“Honey, are you okay?” I asked, assuming some older kid hurt her feelings. She’s a sensitive one and enjoys her own little world. When the happy bubble gets pierced, she wounds deeply.
“Mom!” she gasped out. “Did you know one of the kids killed in the bombing was eight?!” Her eyes revealed her fear and disbelief. She could hardly breathe. Tears spilled from her eyes as she collapsed into the seat.
That was April, 2013. Two and a half years ago. We’d explained the events in Boston, choosing to be factual and prayerful, not fearful. I hadn’t considered the playground chatter. Hearing about the eight year old victim devastated her. The bubble was pierced. I spent that afternoon listening and cuddling her. I did my best, but how do you reassure a sense of safety?
Nearly three years, multiple school shootings, and too many terrorist attacks later, here we are again. Nothing. Feels. Safe. And just like that day, I wonder how to reassure. I struggle to teach trust, tolerance, and compassion in a world that doesn’t model it.
That afternoon, after tears stopped and fears calmed, my daughter returned to her eight year old bubble. Children are lucky that way. Before running off to play, she shared a parting thought. One of those creative little snippets you write down so you don’t forget.
“I’m smorried,” she said. “I am sad, mad, and worried.”
It’s November 2015. I feel smorried, too.