Grief-Stricken, Helping Newtown, and Saying Thank You

Today’s alarm was a cruel one. Monday mornings are always particularly tougher than any other day of the week, specifically because it comes on the heels of two straight days of a little freedom and some extra shut-eye. The routine is back in session, work will commence, kids will go back to class and have homework and earlier bedtimes and chores are in force.

Today’s Monday though was probably the most grueling one I’ve ever endured all this time as a parent. I dreaded it the second I learned of the news Friday. It took every bit of will power not to pull my children out of school that day, and even more not to keep them home with me forever. But I did it – I wiped away the grief-tears from my eyes, and shined my children up like a penny, just as I’m sure those Newtown parents did to their children that Friday morning, too. I kissed them (more than normal) goodbye, waved, and silently broke down when I was finally alone to do so, still reeling from the gravity of it all.

This isn’t supposed to be the way that life is. We’re supposed to send our children to school to learn, not to die. We’re not supposed to be afraid of them out in the world by themselves, let alone at school. It’s not supposed to be like this.

My overly protective and sensitive nature is feeling practically crippled by it all. I know I can barely see straight through the tears I keep shedding, trying to imagine the anguish those parents and families are feeling now living their worst nightmare imaginable.

And in addition to grieving alongside these children’s parents and families, I keep thinking of those teachers, administrators, and their families. Schools nowadays have become more like an additional home to our children just as teachers have become an additional “parent.” And in one terrifying moment, these Sandy Hook teachers and administrators protected their school children with their lives.

It has left me grateful yet hollow. I feel gutted by this incident, so very fearful as to what has happened in our society that mass shootings has become almost regular. My heart is grieving for this community, as well as our nation. Bloggers in particular are taking it a bit harder as one of our own has suffered the loss of her nephew in this tragedy.

But, despite this horribly situation, I can’t let it affect me to the point of paralyzing me from doing anything. My children need me, they are here, and as despondent as I am for the loss in Newtown, I am grateful mine are safe, sound, and here with me still. It’s for them I will do my best to dust myself off, even if I can’t shake it from my heart completely. We need to be strong and vigilant for our children, and show them we can move on, we won’t let the “bad guys” win. (A sentiment all too familiar with military families.)

This week, I want to pour every bit of heartache and sadness in my heart into doing something useful and constructive, preferably with my children. I want to do something to help, even after donating here and here, even if I can’t necessary help those families with my own bare hands. My friend, Kelly, has created a great post about ways to help, and friends here in Texas are doing a Holiday Card Drive I am happy and grateful to participate in.

And then I saw Julie’s Thank A Teacher post. Fantastic. This is something meaningful and most certainly worthwhile, something I can focus and put my energy into. Yes.

In our rushed world, we rarely have an opportunity to show our appreciation for those who spend 6 hours a day with our children. Those who give of their time and brilliant minds to help our own children to stay safe, comfortable, loved and to help them grow.

On Monday, December 17, 2012, take a moment and thank a teacher. Send her an email, a card, a bouquet of flowers. Create a “thank you” bulletin board. Offer to help from home. Make time to volunteer in the classroom.

Take a few minutes in your day and connect with your favorite teacher, or your child’s teacher. It’s simple; just tell him or her “thank you.”

Join hundreds of bloggers throughout the US in recognizing Thank a Teacher Day 2012, created in loving memory of those who lost their lives in Newtown, CT, and in honor of the hundreds of thousands of teachers who would do that tomorrow for your child. Join us in posting this image on your website, sharing with your readers and viewers. Please, help us to reach other parents and grandparents to thank those who love your children nearly as much as you do.

What are you doing to help those in Newtown, or perhaps those around you? Will you join us to Thank a Teacher? What will you do to thank a teacher today?