It was a New York City moment. I was in the back of a yellow taxi cab, cuddling Middle Girl. It was just after her soccer class and she was tired and nuzzled into my side as we zipped to the East Side to pick up her big sister from school. The driver said something to me.
This world is crazy.
And I smiled and nodded. Humored him. He looked back, through the divider and fixed me with his eyes. You heard about the school shooting, right? Somehow, I hadn’t. I didn’t know that earlier this morning as I was sipping my coffee and writing words and pondering life and Christmas gifts, there was unspeakable tragedy going on not far from me. In a school.
We talked about this, this taxi driver and me, and he provided vague details. A young man. Lived with his father. His mother worked at the school. My little girl perked up. Asked me what happened. Don’t worry, sweetie, I said. A guy hurt his knee. Not sure where this came from.
In front of Big Girl’s school, I saw my good friend, a fellow mom. We locked eyes and she asked if I had heard. I nodded. And then she whispered details: A Kingergarten class. I felt my stomach twist. There I was waiting outside a school, my beloved school, waiting to collect my sweet little Kindergartener. I felt sick.
I am home now. Sitting on my bed, processing this, figuring out how we parents and people are supposed to process things like this. The TV is on. A news conference. Details float toward me. Details I don’t want to know. Downstairs, my tired little girls are hanging out with our housekeeper. I told them I was going to shower. They are tired, but happy. When I left them, they were nibbling bits of peppermint bark I gave them and watching an episode of My Little Pony.
They are safe.
Before I got out of the taxi this afternoon, the driver said something. Stay safe. And I thanked him and helped my little girl out and on to the sidewalk. Before I slammed the door, he said something more, something that has stayed with me. A simple something. A true something.
We all just want to be safe.
Honestly, how are we supposed to process things like this?