The play yard was quiet this afternoon. Parents nodded across the concrete, barely willing to acknowledge their horror on the sacred grounds of our elementary school. Strangers stood close, taking silent comfort in community. We waited, restless for the bell to ring, for our children to flood from the building, to embrace our little ones with desperate relief.
A father stood next to me. I watched as the bell shrilled and his daughter came running joyfully from the building, long hair flying, headband askew. He saw her and collapsed to his knees, unable to hold back his tears as he clasped her to him, whispering over and over "I love you so much".
We were all on our knees today. Praying. Or mourning. Brought down by fear. By horror. We were on our knees with helplessness and anger. Humbled by chance and circumstance and an embarrassing gratitude for our good fortune. Felled by sorrow and sympathy, or, for the truly unfortunate, empathy.
I don't know where we go from here. I can think of no solutions. I have no answers. I do know I cannot, I will not, stay on my knees. I will rise up and carry on. I will hold tight to my children. And then I will loose them, that they may dance and sing and hurt and love and live. I will cherish them, and love them, and bless the days that I have with them. Because that is all I can do.