In our home, we don’t watch television much and there are many days where the boys don’t watch it at all. On Friday morning, I woke and got straight to work posting our Christmas Giveaway. The boys were still sleeping and I was sitting at the computer with a cup of coffee on WordPress, finishing things up. I’m honestly not sure if the event occurred before or after I posted the giveaway, but I want you to know that I would never have posted it had I known what was going on. I wouldn’t have felt right about that. Once I published the giveaway, I walked away from the computer, the boys woke and we went about our day. I found out what was going on in Sandy Hook later than most probably did and I found out through Facebook posts, not the news.
When I heard a few unfathomable details, Rocco was awake from his afternoon nap and I made a conscious decision not to turn the television on. I know the affect that television has on Rocco. He’s quite aware and understands what he’s watching. In the past, some news stories, commercials, movie trailers and whatnot have led to him having nightmares. I didn’t want him to see or hear anything. In my opinion, this event is too much for 3 & 4 year olds unless they are directly involved and need explaining from their parents. In my opinion, it’s too much for their 3 & 4 year old eyes, their ears and their hearts. And I knew that if Rocco heard the words, ‘School, Shooting, Children, Gunman, Murdered’ it would place a lot of fear in him. As it is, I realized that I didn’t even know how our school goes about locking down after we leave our children. I was fearful.
I have to admit, on Friday, I didn’t know much or many details about what was going on because I never once turned on the television and only got bits and pieces through Facebook. I was with the kids and didn’t want images on the computer or the television and didn’t want to be glued to my phone either. I prayed throughout the day… and prayed… and prayed some more. In my head, in my heart. When Brian came home from work that evening, we sat at the table and he said, “And let’s pray for the children that…” I stopped him. “Eh! Eh! Eh!” I said. “We’re not going to talk much about that.” I said. I believe that God hears our hearts and sees our thoughts and I didn’t want to lift any details of the tragedy up to God at the dinner table, in front of our 3 & 4 year old. Brian and I prayed for those precious children and their families without the kids hearing.
On Saturday, the boys and I attended a Christmas brunch with my niece; she’s 6 and it wasn’t until then that this tragedy hit home for me. I kept thinking, ‘Oh my goodness. Wow. Those children were her age.’ I found myself watching her close that morning, hugging her extra tight and taking sweet pictures of her beautiful face while it was being painted at the party. She is so young. So innocent. I can’t even imagine. My heart was so heavy for the parents who would no longer be able to have those precious moments like I was having that morning. Right before story-time, the gentleman leading it wanted to take a moment of silence for the victims and their families. He started talking a little bit about it with very few details but I grew fearful of what he would say. Our kids are only little for so long and they only see the good in this world for a few short years before understanding and witnessing the bad in this world.
By the time we got home, there were many articles, stories, photos, opinions, prayers, etc. being posted on Facebook. I was so deeply saddened. All day and all night I couldn’t stop thinking about those children and their poor parents. I would tear up at every story I read and photo I saw on Facebook. I hugged and kissed our kids so much until they begged me to stop. I rubbed their cheeks and combed my fingers through their hair.
On Sunday, I learned that I can’t shield our kids from the world no matter how hard I try. During the Steelers Game, they cut to a news story of the tragedy and just like that, the words, “Gunned down, shooting, school children, classroom, teachers…” were all said within 45 seconds and pictures were flashing on the screen while the man was talking. And there, right in front of the television were my 2 precious boys staring with big brown eyes at the television. I ran to the remote and changed the channel and wouldn’t you know, ‘A Christmas Story’ was what I turned to and as soon as the screen changed, Ralphie (the little boy) was shooting his gun at robbers and they were each falling to the ground 1 by 1. I changed the channel again, looked at Brian and whispered… “This is unreal! Of all parts to come in on… THIS!” Rocco’s eyes were wide. He didn’t move from the tv during the scene. We went back to watching the Steelers Game. I didn’t how to cope with them hearing / not hearing about the Sandy Hook Tragedy. I touched the FB app on my iPhone while the boys were watching the game and that’s when I saw this:
I understand that there are parents who need to tell their children about this event and I’d even encourage you to read a few articles about ‘How To’ talk to them before doing so. This is a good one I found from CNN and I’m sure there are many more. I made the decision to not tell our little ones about Sandy Hook because I don’t feel they are of age. Their school is as safe as we make it and I need them to feel safe there. If I ever need to talk to Rocco about this because of something he may hear, I found a list of scriptures (From: Mom of Boys Society) that I know will guide me through conversation…
Prayer & Scripture will get us through. It always does.