The tragedy in Connecticut hit home for me. I have a kindergartner and a first grader. There is something so wrong about seeing my son's age beside the names of so many of the victims listed in the paper. I am a teacher. Now I teach preschool, but I taught in public school for 6 years before I had my kids. I knew the drills, the special code phrases signifying "gunman in the schools." Get your kids out of harm's way NOW. Lock your classroom door. Hide. I watched a news story of a teacher who gathered her children and hid in the bathroom while the shooting happened in the next room. She told her children that she loved them because she wanted that to be the last thing they heard and not the sound of bullets. And she worried out loud to the reporter about that--about if it was okay to tell her students that she loved them. There is something so wrong about that. That we have to worry about telling our students that we love them, that God loves them. It is too much for me to take.
The Monday after the shootings I dropped the kids off in a rush. It was lightly raining as we walked to my son's school, and I had an 8:00 meeting in the preschool. Walk fast! Rush, rush.
Tuesday, the weather was gloomy and foggy as we walked to the elementary school. For some reason, a state trooper went right by the main road as we were heading up the little hill to the school. Traffic was stopped by the crossing guard. We all turned to see the car go by, sirens blaring. For a second, my heart stopped just picturing that day in Connecticut. It was like a piece---a tiny fragment---of the panic the parents must have felt as they heard sirens in their little town and saw the police cars heading to the school.
Next I dropped off my daughter in car line at the preschool. Our preschool decided to have some of the pastors and other men from the church assisting in car line after the shootings. They want to provide a sense of safety and security (Though how we are supposed to feel safe anymore, I don't know.). So a pastor opened the door for my daughter. For some reason, seeing this big guy whose job is so much more "important" than this, reaching over to take my little girl's hand just choked me up. That he would do this, that we would feel the need to have him here. I left car line with tears in my eyes.
So it was on a whim that I responded to Jane's email asking if anyone was running this morning. I had cleaning and shopping to do and really shouldn't "indulge" myself with a run just for me. But I wanted to run with her. I wanted her company and distraction. I wanted something to feel normal. And I didn't want to be alone in my thoughts.
We decided on a time, and I drove to her house. She was wanting 8 miles (one of her first 8 mile runs post-baby), but as I sat listening to Christmas music in my car, I added up the time and decided I could not get 8 in before preschool pick up. No matter. I would run as many as I had time for.
The sun was shining as we got started. I truly forgot how much I enjoy running in warm, sunny weather with a friend. It seems like I run alone and/or in the dark almost all of the time now. Our talk flowed easily from topics like getting your baby to sleep through the night, to training for upcoming races, to family. As we neared her house, I realized that I could probably finish the 8 miles if we sped up and if I didn't shave in the shower afterwards! We sped up to an 8:40 mile, a fast pace for Jane as she's building her distance and speed back up. I felt very alive and happy as we raced along, and I literally ran to my car, shouted a "good-bye," and started driving away in one solid motion (I even forgot to hit "stop" on my Garmin until I was driving away!).
So what was this run today? A time I "selfishly" chose to spend on myself though mounds of last-minute Christmas errands await. A time to reconnect with a running pal. A chance for conversations about our lives to take me away from the tragedy I've been so focused on.
For just a moment, to enjoy the sun, and the feel of running, and the company of a good friend.
see Jane's post about our run here