This morning I drove up the long driveway toward Nicholas's elementary school.
Posted like sentries in front of the school were several male teachers. Each assigned to watch for unusual activity and ensure the safety of the arriving children.
I parked in my usual spot in front of the school. Nick's aide, Mr. D was already waiting for us.
As Nicholas and I hopped out of our vehicle, two white vans pulled up behind us. Out of the vans climbed four of Nick's classmates. Typically, these children run into the school. Today, they wanted to wait for Nicholas. They formed a circle around me, Nicholas and Mr. D.
Mr. D is Nick's aide. He and his wife operate an in-home preschool. He has a calm nature and a happy disposition. He treats his students with honesty and respect. The children love him dearly.
"Hey Mr. D," little A shouted. "Did you hear what happened at that school?"
"Yes, A, I heard. It was very sad but we are going to talk about it today." Mr. D explained.
"It was terrible," S said.
"Yes, S. it was." said Mr. D.
Each child looked steadily at Mr. D carefully watching his face and observing his facial expressions. They swarmed around him humming like bumble bees, asking questions and seeking answers. But there was something else they needed from Mr. D, something more important.
They needed comfort.
They needed to know they would be safe.
Each of them sided up to this large jolly man.
Nicholas reached instinctively for his hand as they all turned to enter the school together.
It is a different world.
As a country, we need to learn from these events.
We need to believe we can be better.
We need to create a society that puts the needs of its children first, by providing them with the comfort, love and safety they deserve.