Katie got home from school and we jumped into the car to go to a local store in order for me to get fingerprinted. I needed to have this done in order to volunteer at school - including being able to go on field trips with Katie and her class.
On the way, Katie started telling me about her day. This is somewhat unusual - she usually wants a snack and gets distracted playing with Jack once she hits the door. Maybe we should ride around in the car after school more often so she will give me more details? :)
All of a sudden, she said, "We learned another drill today at school, Momma!" I knew they had a fire drill. So that would be one type. A second type is a bus drill. And then she said, "So we have three kinds of drills now! We have fire drills, bus drills, and this new one!" I then asked her what the new one was. I 100% expected her to say a tornado drill and then proceed to tell me about sitting in the hall against a wall with her head down and covered.
Boy, was I wrong. And boy was I unprepared.
She said, "It is a drill where my teacher locks the classroom door and turns out the lights. And then we go into the cubby room and turn the lights out. And we get in our cubby. We take our backpack off the hook and stand in our cubby and put the backpack in our lap. And you know what the drill is for? It is if there is a stranger. If someone is around and they don't have a visitor sticker. And we get in our cubby and hide. It is kind of like playing hide and seek. So, I guess it is a hide and seek drill!"
No words. For at least 30 seconds. Just tears. And I have no clue why. I know these are real life issues. The first thing I thought about was Sandy Hook and the families that dropped their children off that morning or put them on a bus and then didn't get them back into their arms later in the day.
I also realized that this was a day that chipped away at Katie's innocence. I assume they went through the drill. And it was likely explained in this manner to the kids so that they understood what it was for as best as their little minds could comprehend.
I cried. And it wasn't just a tearing up. I literally had tears streaming down my cheeks. It makes me tear up to even think about this. What if Katie (or Jack or Ryan in the future) is faced with a situation where they really have to put this "hide and seek drill" into practice? I pray that her teacher is calm and orderly and soothing and hugs them. I pray that the school staff is adequately trained. I pray that my children will remain calm and do as they are told. But most of all. Most of all I pray we never face that situation.
Things have changed so much since I was a student. Fingerprinted to volunteer?! Seriously?! Of course I want to be involved so I will do what it takes. I just hate that we live in a society where that is necessary. And all the rules to eat lunch with your child. Man, oh, man. You sign in at the office and get a sticker and they keep your keys so you can't leave without checking out. And you can't stand out in the lobby area of the school. You have to stay in the office until you see your child's class walking toward the cafeteria. I so appreciate the levels of safety and all of that since Katie is there more than she is at home (waking hours) during the week. I just wish we didn't have to go to those extremes.
And tonight? I gave her extra hugs. I am so thrilled that she loves kindergarten and her teacher and her new friends. But I tear up each time I see her innocence chipped away. I want her to keep that sense of wonder for as long as she possibly can. That belief that everyone does good. But I also want her to be real and realistic. So here we are. Learning about and practicing the "hide and seek drill"....
I know this post rambled a bit. But I just can't get this out of my mind. And hearing Katie rehash it when she talked to Brad tonight...it just made me realize that I am going to do all I can to help her see and remember all of the positives in the world while also "keeping it real."