Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Talking about it

Yesterday the boys saw an image on the computer of police running.

"What's going on?" one of them asked

"There was a fire at a college." I blatantly lied.

***

This morning, when a fuller picture was known of what happened yesterday at Virginia Tech, we had to tell the boys the truth. They interact with other kids during the day and while we don't let them watch or listen to the news, we have no idea what will be said. We wanted to control their first hearing about this tragic event.

"Guys, I need to tell you something really sad. Yesterday I didn't tell you what was actually happening at that college. There was a shooting. One student killed a lot of other students. I didn't want to tell you yesterday because we wanted to have a better understanding of what happened."

"What happened to the shooter?"

"He killed himself."

"How?"

"With his gun."

"Did he do this?" and they both pointed their first fingers at their faces.

"The news hasn't said but probably something like that."

Then they ran away.

***

A half hour later we were all dressed for yet another rainy day. Suddenly, the little girl started singing the I love you, You love me song by an irritating, purple dinosaur. Then the boys joined in. Over and over again. First they sang together. Then they paired up. Little sister sang once with each brother. Even the brothers sang it once to each other. One guy brought me into it. Each rendition required a perfectly placed kiss on the lips.

At first I was irritated. I can't stand that show. Then, slowly, light dawned. It was comfort. Comfort in a scary world. Because we are a great big family.



11 comments:

Jodi said...

while that song is very annoying, that is a very touching story.

Damselfly said...

What a good mom you are for explaining the news to your children. It's so good they heard it from you first. I'm so touched that they pulled together and sang a song as a result.

chelle said...

Amazing ... Totally hard to explain the truth, I am glad you waited till you had more information ... wow tragic :(

Alex Elliot said...

Sounds like you did a great job explaining what happened to them. It's nice that they heard it from you first.

cce said...

My kids still don't know and I will continue to censor their news until I think they've avoided the unpleasantness. I'm just not sure what good could come of their knowing. Just as I shelter them from war in Iraq and genocide in Africa, I'll keep the away from this one too.

Flower Child said...

what's national and global news is local here. it's all over the paper - the front page, the metro section, the sports section, the style section. work stopped yesterday for many people - either because business was suspended or because everyone stopped to watch the convocation. we all know the towns these kids came from - they are only a few miles away. we're surrounded by Hokie alums. it's a bit overwhelming right now. I can't imagine having to explain this to our local kids.

soccer mom in denial said...

We had kept nearly every "bad" news story from them until Katrina since my husband is a native-New Orleanian and he was beyond despair. The kids were overhearing some pretty sad phone calls.

While I would love to protect my kids, they are old enough to be out in the real world. Last year's class obsessed about the coal mining accident - for days. Once they hit a certain age (for instance our 3 year old doesn't know what happened this week) I'd rather be out in front than playing catch up.

jenn in holland said...

What a lovely conclusion to this post. I don't hold many fond feelings for that dinosaur either, but I actually love that song. I love that your kids knew JUST HOW to express the important message to each other.
Good for you for handling the situation openly and up-frontly, including the first lie about it all. What we do to protect our babies from this big wild world, eh?

Jenn said...

My parents never sheltered me from the news and I am thankful for that.

Otherwise I would have had a seriously rude awakening when I was old enough to comprehend what the world was really like, if the sheltering didn't stunt my mental growth too completely that is.

Brillig said...

This made me cry--no easy feat. I'm not sure what it was about it, but what stands out is their search for comfort. I guess we're all searching for it right now.

aimee / greeblemonkey said...

Great post.