We conducted our monthly fire drill with our daycare group this afternoon. At the time we had 2 4-year old boys, one of them is mine, 2 2-year olds and 4″under 2s.” On staff, there were 4 of us.
I always begin the drill with testing the smoke alarm, and saying, “It’s an emergency! We need to get out as fast as we can.” I huddle the gang and remind them that we have to be fast, focused, brave and to take care of each other as my amazing team readies shoes and coats for a cold day like today. We throw blankets over the babies and are out the door within minutes. As we leave we sing a line over and over from Bob Marley’s “3 Little Birds” to help the children remember to be calm and that “everything is gonna be alright.”
Today, as we were throwing on shoes without socks and leaving with unzipped jackets. My son said, “are we pretending to run from a bad guy?”
He had seen news over the weekend, pictures of slain children and crying people, including me- over the weekend. My Husband and I explained that someone went into a school and shot little children and teachers. Some of them died. Others were saved by their teachers and the police. Every mommy and daddy is a little sad, because every time a little child is lost, every mommy feels it in her heart, daddies too. He asked me “Why did the bad guy shoot the kids?” I said, “We don’t know, the shooter is dead too, but I will guess he was so angry and so hurt that he felt he needed to make other people hurt and angry too. My love, the shooter forgot his peace and did something so terrible, so sad that the whole world will forever remember all those children and teachers. We need to be peace now, more than ever to honor them.”
“Yes, we can pretend that. Let’s pretend a bad guy today. We have to get out and be quiet, brave and careful.” My voice quivered. Everything is gonna be alright, everything is gonna be alright. I choked back tears and thought of the brave teachers and the principal struck down.
So was the game, escaping a bad guy set on hurting someone. Get out of the apartment, down the emergency stairs through the service entrance and across the street. Everything is gonna be alright, everything is gonna be alright.
At our meeting place, we do our cheer: “Who did it?” “We did it!” We are safe. Like the dad in “Life Is Beautiful,” a game makes the horrible task to face for a little child, and for the adults who love them.
As one of my 2-year old girls was leaving today, she was telling her daddy about the bad guy game in the most excited voice. I explained. “That’s right, you are safe,” he said. “We will keep you safe, Daddy, Mommy and Nananie. We will keep you safe.”
That’s right, my babies. I love you and I will keep you safe. Everything is gonna be alright, everything is gonna be alright.
Thank God, Thank God, Thank God we are all safe. XOXO