My husband came home from work one day and asked me to watch a story that he shot and edited. He is a photojournalist at a local TV station and this is a common request that I get from him.
But, this story was different. It was about a bulletproof backpack. I was caught off guard.
“Do you want to buy our kid a bulletproof backpack?”I asked. He really just wanted my opinion on the story.
It got me thinking. How do we live in a world where there is a need for bulletproof backpacks?
This led to a conversation with our 9-year-old about what to do if he finds himself in a scary situation at school. He just had a lock down drill and he was able to explain his class plan to his dad and I. In fact, there are different plans depending on what part of the school he is in. He seemed comfortable talking about it. It seemed like second nature to him and not a big deal.
I freaked out and practically cried when we practiced tornado drills. My child seemed well rehearsed and calm talking about what he would do if someone showed up to his school with a gun. This is a definite testament to his teachers and school principal.
We watched the TV story together. My husband and I then explained to him how to use his backpack as a shield to protect himself. We had him pick up his backpack and hide behind it. My heart sank. To watch my 9-year-old practice trying to save his life by hiding behind his backpack brought tears to my eyes.
I don’t have any answers or recommendations on how to fix our nation’s gun issue. I don’t have answers or recommendations on how to make school shootings stop. I know nothing about mental illness or how to identify it better. I don’t have answers.
I am just a mom trying to figure out how to talk to her 9-year-old about this new normal. I am just a mom who is worried that the next time I turn on the news it will be my kid’s school. I am just a mom who prays each night that it doesn’t happen here.