On the way home from school yesterday, my five-year-old told me that the next day would include a “Lock Down Drill.”
“They are going to wock the doors and we have to hide and then Mr. A— is going to come and pretend he is a bad person and try to open all the doors. Wike someone who wants to steal our toys and games.”
I include his substitution of “W’s” for initial “L’s” because I want you to hear his sweet little voice. His sweet little voice saying, “We have to practice hiding while our principal pretends to be a crazed maniac with semi-automatic weapons, hell-bent on slaughtering children in their neighborhood elementary school.”
Yesterday as we worked on FJ’s homework with him at the dinner table, we remarked that we don’t remember having homework in Kindergarten. Pete said, “And I don’t think it inhibited our ability to become geniuses.” I’m not sure. Not about the genius part (we neither of us are, and that’s OK), but about the existence of Kindergarten homework in my past. My dim, foggy past. I don’t remember bringing home three-page, two-sided worksheets once a week when I was five, but I don’t remember a lot from when I was five.
I am pretty damn sure, however, that I didn’t have to submit to anything like a “Lock Down Drill.” I remember fire drills, where we all proceeded in lines out the door and into the playground across the street, divided by boys and girls. I vividly remember one girl in my line telling me I was in the wrong line. “I’m a girl,” I said. Yeah, that really sticks with me, but it wasn’t Kindergarten. More like third grade, perhaps. We worried about fire. Fire or tornadoes or other natural disasters. Not heavily-armed, demented vigilantes entering our schools and firing at will.
As Finn told me about the logistics of the drill, I felt a combination of anger and sadness threatening to manifest itself in tears as we walked the few short blocks home, but I didn’t want him to see that. I just told him that he needed to listen to what his teachers said and be sure that he did exactly what they told him to do.
After dinner, I related this to Pete, and FJ repeated his explanation of the drill. When he got to the part about his principal pretending to be someone else, I welled up. I managed to keep it from becoming a full-on weep, but I said to Pete, “I know it’s not necessarily the most rational response, but this makes me want to rail and rampage against the NRA.”
“You should,” Pete said.
“Yeah, mama. You should,” said FJ.