Dear Little,

You are only 4 years old.

Only. 4. Years. Old.

Your voice still has a Minnie-Mouse quality that only children (and reeeeeallllly talented voice actors) have.

Which is why, when I started out the back door on my way to work, you stopped me in my track with only 5 words.

“Mommy! We practiced lockdown today!”

Those words coming out of your mouth, with your stuffed up, excited, fast-paced, childlike cantor was jarring.

I’m conflicted, as I’m sure a lot of parents are.

I’m sending you to school to write your letter “s” facing the right way. I’m sending you to school so you can be around other kids from various cultures and backgrounds. I’m sending you to school so I can go back to work and get a little break. I’m sending you to school so you can be prepared live in this world.

And this is part of the drill now.

I’m comforted in a weird way that your teachers and your school are going to great lengths to practice keeping you and your tiny, tiny classmates safe in the event of something tragic and unimaginable happening.

Something the teachers at Newtown Elementary never had the opportunity to practice. And why would they have practiced lockdowns? They had no reason to think a lunatic with an assault weapon would come to their school and harm them.

But we do.

And that’s the conflict. I’m so angry. I’m angry that the NRA won’t take steps to insure your safety or the safety your classmates across the country.

I’m angry at our Senate and the House for refusing to do their jobs and keep you safe. Instead of hearing the words and stories of victims, including one if their own who was gunned down in a parking lot, they stand by the gun lobby because money keeps them in their seat. Every Congress person who had voted in opposition to common sense legislation had put their job before your safety and the safety of your classmates across the country.

I’m angry at a culture that caves to fear and clings to guns (or clings to fear of losing guns) instead of thinking about the implications of what that fear does to our nation’s preschool teachers.

I’m saddened to hear my kid knows two kinds of lockdown. (When there is someone inside the school, and someone outside the school).

I’m saddened that my 4 year old’s preschool teacher has to dedicate time to this, but I’m ever grateful she does.

I’m saddened that our police department has to dedicate time to making sure the kids and teachers are safe. I’m ever grateful they put their lives on the line every day but I so wish it didn’t have to be this way.

Today, dropping you off at school, it became really real. Our nation’s teachers are there, doing the best they can because they care. Our nation’s teachers are doing what they can to really prepare you and your classmates for the challenges ahead.

They are doing what our obstructed Congress refuses to do. They are taking responsibility and doing something. They are putting you first, even though I can’t imagine what it’s like to be a teacher in a room full of bright-eyed, inquisitive, enthusiastic preschoolers, knowing something you don’t yet know. This training is to save your lives.
They are preparing you to be safe.

I hope to god you never need this skill, but I’m glad your teachers are doing what they can. I’m glad the Somerville PD is taking the time to make sure you are safe, and they have a plan just in case.

I only wish our legislators will follow suit. For once in my lifetime, I wish they would take the burden off the teachers by listening to them, to victims, to the nation and put their pride and pocketbooks aside for doing something about gun control.

Because while they are sitting on Capitol Hill, not doing their jobs (Zika, Supreme Court Justice and guns), our nation’s preschool, elementary, middle, and high teachers are.

Today, kiddo, was hard. Today was real. Today, I’m sorry.

Today, you are still 4 years old.

I love you.

Mom

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