A lockdown for parents.
The phone call we never wanted to receive came last week. As we were calmly informed via automated calling from the Bethel School district that the schools were on lock down, I panicked.
As I was putting on my coat, the calm voice proceeded to tell me not to go the school campus.
I took off my coat. The schools were all locked anyway so what would I do? Sit in the parking lot? If the school campus had a threat that was external to the schools, would I be driving right into the center of the danger?
I did what a lot of other parents did then. I checked Face Book updates. Sure enough, friends from all over Bethel were posting updates that were immediately reassuring. Not because they had any news or confirmed information, but because I was instantly comforted by the fact that all my friends were feeling the same way that I was. We are all in the same boat together. Instead of feeling isolated at home in my kitchen, I was feeling hugged by friends. The parents were all on lock down at home but we weren’t alone. One friend was even posting updates from the police scanner. I was still wary of what I was reading though and decided the best thing to do was to stay calm and wait.
It was a long wait.
The children had come home a few weeks ago describing their lockdown practice and I was torn between feeling upset and feeling relieved. Upset - that they had to be exposed to the knowledge that danger may strike anywhere, even Bethel. Relieved - that they had rehearsed the actual lock down procedure.
As I waited for an updated phone call from Bethel public schools, I thought about the lock down practice. Somehow the teachers and administrators of the schools had managed to get through a practice lockdown with the children, without scaring the bejesus out of them but at the same time ensuring they had some experience.
The second phone call came. The danger was over. The schools were safe. The situation resolved.
I felt slightly dizzy with relief and sat down for a while on the couch. I was trying to remember how the kids had left the house that morning. Was I shouting for them to remember their musical instruments? Did I pack that lunch box with love and attention or was I cramming the food into the tubberware grumbling that we should all be more organized the previous night. Was I arguing with the kids to wear their coats even if the sun was out?
How did I seem to them? Did I smile? Did I hug?
Well, lesson learned. I can’t promise to be the perfect parent in the morning every morning, but I am certainly taking this opportunity to remember not to take them for granted. I didn’t enjoy my lock down at home. I hope it doesn’t happen again.