Thursday afternoon school pick up started as usual, Noah played on the playground while we waited for Kiara to finish school.
Then thisnews story http://au.news.yahoo.com/latest/a/-/latest/18708796/cairns-gunmen-sighting-scares-kids/ developed, forcing the parents and students into “lock down” at the time in which the school bell would usually be ringing.
We hid under desks in the darkened, locked classroom for over 45 minutes, with the lock down siren blaring the whole time, and getting updates every 10 minutes over the school loud speaker.
When the police gave permission, we were all allowed to go.
The gunmen did not venture anywhere near the school, our school, along with other schools and businesses were put in lock down as a precaution, yet for hours afterwards I could feel my heart beating so loudly in my chest, and my nerves felt very shaken.
For days afterwards I felt as though tears were constantly threatening to spill from my eyes, and I found it really hard to articulate why, especially since others who went through the same thing seemed to be calm about it and moving on with their lives.
Then I realized what it was that got me feeling like this.
It was seeing my little girl huddled in a ball under her desk, giving me a feeble smile when I walked in.
It was watching my son’s wide eyes as he wanted to know what was going on.
It was the little girl in Kiara’s class who would let out sobs every now and then, and had a face white with fear.
It was the confident student teacher who came in for placement a few weeks ago, and choose Thursday to come back and visit this class, only this time she was huddled in a ball, looking absolutely terrified.
It was leaving the school at last and seeing a young boy whom had almost outgrown his Mum in height, absolutely sobbing in his Mums arms, and seeing his Mum holding back her tears at the same time.
It was answering my kids questions about the gunmen, and lying to them that they had been arrested, when in fact they hadn’t, purely because I did not want them to fear anymore.
It was the fact that although we live in a part of the world that many people only dream of visiting, although we feel safe as we walk our kids to the park, or play with them in the front yard, you can never ever really say that you are 100% safe in any place.
It was thinking of all those darling little kids and teachers whom have gone through school lock downs that have not had such a happy ending.
It was imagining what it must be like for some people in various parts of the world who have to live in fear every, single day.
It was the fact that my son has since had nightmares about gunmen, and that the kids at a birthday party we attended yesterday were role playing that a gunman was on the loose and they had to have a lock down.
Their pretend screams sent shivers up my spine.
Then I saw this picture on the internet.
I have seen it before, I love this quote, and I think it was just what I needed to see at that point in time.
When our kids practiced the Lock Down drill last year- (something I never even knew about when I went to school), a few of them were scared even in the practice, it was something we as parents imagined they would never have to use, and hope they never will have to use again.
I spent my time focusing on all the fear the whole situation instilled into these little people, but then I took the time to think of the great moments I also viewed.
I saw a group of 6 and 7 year old’s pool together their left overs from lunch and share with each other.
I saw my daughter passing her drink bottle around to those who were thirsty.
I saw a lovely girl crawl under the table with Noah and read him book after book.
I saw classmates cuddle their friend whom was very upset.
I saw a group of little people come together in a scary situation, and remain brave and calm, and beautiful.
I witnessed staff and teachers at the school put their own fears aside to look after the well being of their students.
I felt part of a community, that are there to look after each other when things get tough.
The tears are still threatening to fall at times, at moments when I catch myself thinking too much.
I’m not being naive or melodramatic, I know there was no moment of almost dying that day.
The thing I feared more than anything, was that somehow this whole thing would make innocent little kids start to believe that they live in a really horrible world.
And while there are some horrible people and horrible things that happen in this world.
It is not all hard.
We just have to remind ourselves of the soft parts.