This is not the post I intended for today.
It's the first day of school in my community.
The first day of school in Moore, Oklahoma.
I've been really looking forward to this day.
And here's the thing: our school year was cut short last year, our summer was full of false starts and seemed like it just never took off. So I've been looking forward to back to school so I could get some time to myself; some time to work, look for shoes without Thing 1 & Thing 2 cracking wise and making jokes as I drag them along behind me at the mall. Just time.
But here's the thing: our school year was cut short last year because of the damnable weather. Those giant storms that pulsed across the plains for a few days and cut a new path across the earth. Those storms that took lives, buildings, belongings; but worse than that, they took the sense of safety and groundedness. The tornados didn't just physically sweep away things; those storms swept thousands of people off their feet and left them feeling unstable, maybe struggling to stand.
I've felt like I've had my own little personal raincloud over my head and this morning, as I woke up before the alarm clock, I switched on the TV to get the bus stop forecast and saw a report from the new locations of Briarwood and Plaza Towers. And a teacher showing the physical scars on her arms. But there's more than that, more under the surface. And my little raincloud threatened to break and open and rain down because there it was, the worry that's been following me around. The fear.
If I'm scared, worried about sending my own kids to their school which is miles away from these schools, because all I can remember is the last time I picked them up from that school and what that day turned into? Then I know that those who endured it and were close enough to touch are possibly having a much more difficult struggle with the thought of dropping their kids off at school. And the teachers, those amazing people who proved that day that they are willing to lay down their lives as much as any soldier in the protection of our kids, you know that they are putting on their battle faces. Keeping their composure but aware, more than ever, of what the stakes may be.
So I'm going to drink my coffee. I'm going to put on my game face for my kids, get them to school, greet their teachers, thank them for another year. I'll crack jokes with the other parents about how thankful we are for school to begin and I'll sign up for volunteer slots with the PTA.
I'll go for a run and push myself to do an extra lap on the track, to shake out my demon worries. And then I'll find a quiet space in my home, which won't be hard to do with the kids at school, and I'll sit down and I'll decompress and I might cry a little but they will be tears of gratitude; tears of prayer for all those in need of a little something more today.