The words "shelter in place" have the ability to bring me back to 2009 when the Fort Hood shootings occurred. This tragedy was repeated yesterday in the Navy Yard in Washington DC. I can't even begin to fathom the whys or the hows. Most everyone knows my feelings on gun control, etc. This post is about the children.
My children were intimately affected by what happened on Fort Hood. We were there enjoying cake after Ben's promotion ceremony. We left quickly after not really knowing how dire the situation really was. We detoured to return a coffee urn but were locked out of the Officer's Club. That's when the sirens went off and the "shelter in place" warnings were given.
As you can imagine, with a child on the autism spectrum, the loud sirens were disturbing. However, the greater picture was even more so. The rest of the children were panicking as were my mother-in-law and sister-in-law. We did make it off Fort Hood before they closed all the gates. We would not be stuck in our car for the 6-8 hours it turned out to be.
There were many questions and I shrugged them off as best as I could. But, Ben ended up being locked down where he was. So, I did have to answer a few but I answered with as few details as possible.
In 2009, my children were 11, 8, 6 and 4. They were about to send their father off on a deployment to Afghanistan. I didn't tell them much about the deployment but by reading books (American Girl Molly), the children did eventually figure out that he was headed to someplace dangerous.
I will never know the effects of these deployments on the children completely. I have seen the pain in their faces when they realize their father is leaving. I have seen the relief when they learn he's coming home. I had never fully realized how much they kept inside until my oldest daughter dissolved into sobs upon learning her father was coming home safe and sound.
They had already witnessed their mother losing her control when her friend was killed on a deployment. Deployment means danger to them.
So, I want these children everywhere but most especially in the Washington DC area to feel safe. I don't want them to lose the peace and innocence. Once it's gone, it's gone.
I pray for all the children. The world is so different.
And, so I ramble on and on with no cohesive idea. This is basically a brain dump of all the thoughts in my head since yesterday morning.