28 Kindergartners {and so we grieve}

 
I woke up today, as I do every Friday since August.
I was tired from watching my "shows".
I was wondering if my 28 kindergartners were going to be kind or going to be hellions.
Let's face it, 28 five and six year olds are forces of nature.
I got myself and the girls ready and we were off, for our busy Friday.
 
I spent an hour and a half in the class room this morning.
With kindergartners who needed help spelling "mom" and "butterfly" and "friend".
You know the things that kindergartners think about.
We had a small issue in the classroom over grey crayons,
because when you need to color your grey book,
and there is a shortage of grey crayons, there may or may not be tears.
But we worked it out, we shared, and then I was off to grab a quick bite
to eat before I had to be back for the lunch shift.
 
I turned on my TV, and I saw the news.
A mass shooting at a school in Connecticut.
Not just any school.
An elementary school.
Initial reports: 20 children. Dead.
How.  Is.  That. Possible?
 
I watched and I cried.
For a half hour.
I asked every question in the book.
I prayed for an answer, for peace, for faith.
How on earth could this happen?
 
20 children, who I would later learn were mostly kindergartners.
My heart completely broke.
I have 28 kindergartners in my life.
28 little people who are stuck between being a child and a baby.
28 little folks who can write their names, but still can't open their milk.
28 cherub faces that can sing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer in front of 100 people,
but still cry for their mommies when the going gets tough.
28 perfect, precious, humans who call me Mrs. Crutchfield, tell me about their dentist appointments, and their visits to Santa.
 
And my heart is broken.
To lose one of those precious babies would devastate me.
Obviously, because one of them is mine.
But to even lose one that isn't mine?
I have no words for that situation.
 
I went back for lunch duty with puffy eyes.
I had a runny nose, and tissue in hand.
I wanted to hug each and every kindergartner in my lunch line.
I took extra care in getting them their chocolate milk and straws.
I spent extra time on the playground.
 
It was no surprise that many of the moms at pick-up were teary eyed today.
That we talked and cried together.
Tears of thanks to have a child to pick up.
Tears of grief for the unimaginable.
What's a person to do, where there are no answers to a tragedy?
 
Pray, perhaps.
 
So I pray, with eyes closed, with tears on my cheeks.
There are 20 parents that are going home without their
precious, perfect, angels today.
I pray for them, for the journey they have to endure,
for the questions they may never get answers,
for the new life they will have to lead.
I pray for the families that lost their loved ones,
Adults who, I'm sure, had nothing on their minds but saving those angels.
For the police, fire, and rescue, who did their jobs,
with what I'm sure were heavy, broken, hearts.
 
Tonight, I'm home with my precious kindergartner.
One of my 28.
Who have stolen my heart.
Have given my life new meaning.
And have given me more reasons to grieve such an event.
 
28 times over.
 

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