It is hard to believe it's been that long since the Columbine massacre. April 20, 1999. That one day changed many lives...it ended the lives of 12 students and a teacher far too soon*. Altered the lives of an additional 23 students who were injured. Damaged the families of the 26 people injured or killed. Impacted a community - a country. And forever changed the way Colorado schools operate - and most probably the way schools all across the nation function. I don't know that anyone could foresee how the tragedy at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999 would impact an entire generation of kids...kids who were doing what millions of kids in the US do every day.
When you send your kids off to school in the morning, you don't think something so incredibly unspeakable can happen. Trust me, no one in this great community thought anything like this was possible. It never crossed the minds of local parents just how helpless we all are when our children leave our care. Even to go some where as safe and benign as school. We know the people our kids go to school with. We expect our children to return safely to us at the end of the day. We do this day after day, without giving it a single thought.
That is exactly the feeling and sense of security we, as parents, had the morning of April 20, 1999. No one had any inkling of the horrific disaster awaiting the kids of Columbine High School that day. No one could foretell how the destinies of so many would be irrevocably changed - or how the innocence of our most precious possessions would be lost forever. It was scary enough to be less than a mile from Columbine that day...I cannot imagine how it must felt to have actually been on the campus.
Please take a few minutes today to say a prayer for the lives tragically affected - and families totally shattered - ten years ago today. Please spend just a minute sending positive vibes and well wishes to those directly affected by the inexplicable violence that occurred at Columbine High School exactly ten years ago. Today cannot be an easy day for the families directly involved - I'm sure we are all aware of how anniversaries can bring up strong memories. And these families have been through more than most of us can imagine. They definitely deserve a few moments of strength, peace, and comfort.
Also, take an extra minute to hug your kids. They make look at you like you're nuts (if you have teenagers, you're used to it!), but you can never love on your kiddos enough. Make a conscious effort to send them off with warmth and love in the mornings. I know that's harder some mornings than others - but try to make it a habit. Even though my kids were young when the Columbine massacre occurred - one son in kindergarten and one son in preschool - I promised myself I would never send them out into the world without knowing how much I love them. No matter how chaotic, crazy, or outright disastrous our morning has been, I never let my kids get out of the house without a hug, a kiss (or a pat on the back, in my teenage son's case), and an "Make it an absolutely wonderful, fantastic, amazing, and incredible day today! I'll be thinking of you - I LOVE YOU!!" from me. I tell them those exact words every single time they leave for school in the morning. Even if I was ranting and raving two minutes before. I don't want them to leave without knowing I love them - and I will not send them out into the world without those words being the last words they hear from me.
If you don't end your mornings (or any time you are heading in different directions) like we do, try it. It definitely makes for a better day...for everyone. You just never know what the great big world has planned for them that day. I hope to God it won't ever be something as tragic as Columbine - but even if it's something like no one wanting to sit with them at lunch or they didn't do well on their math test, they will remember the last words you said to them. And that reminds them you are in their corner and love them no matter what. I wish my mom had practiced this when I was a kid.
Who knows? Maybe doing that can prevent a future Columbine-like tragedy...and all our kids deserve that. Oh - and just in case no one told you this morning,
MAKE IT AN ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL, FANTASTIC, AMAZING, AND INCREDIBLE DAY! I'LL BE THINKING OF YOU - AND I LOVE YOU!! xx
(*This does not include the lives of the two lives of the gun-toting boys who also died.)