This week I took my oldest son shopping for school. It was an exciting evening for him as this is his first time buying school supplies.
He will start Kindergarten in just a couple of weeks at one of our local public schools.
We gathered his list and headed out cheerfully to the store. He picked boxes of crayons and colored pencils. He decided on his favorite scent of Clorox wipes. Then he marked each item that his teacher requested off the list.
Every item added to the basket filled him with excitement.
We casually walked toward the check out smiling and talking about the year ahead. He shared that he’s most excited about making friends and using his new shark-print clipboard. You could practically hear the joy overflowing as he spoke about all the potential that lies ahead at his new school.
We rounded the corner to the front of the store and then I saw it.
A bulletproof backpack.
I stopped in my tracks.
While I am sure I read in passing about such a thing existing, I had never before been confronted with the reality in person. Our reality. The truth that I am preparing to send my child off to school in a time where kids carry bulletproof backpacks.
When I started school (way back in 1988), my parents were likely concerned that I would eat glue. I doubt it ever crossed their mine that I would go to school and never come home due to an active shooter.
I remember when school shootings weren’t commonplace.
It has been in our lifetime, the parents of students today, where school shootings have become less of a shock and more of a tragic sigh. I have gone from sitting in my 10th grade history class, watching the television broadcast the live news from Columbine to walking through an office supply store where buying a bulletproof backpack for your child is normalized.
At the beginning of the summer I was having one of those mom moments where you realize how fast the time has gone when I realized the precious SkipHop zoo animal backpack’s time had concluded with the end of preschool. I was sad because it meant my little guy was growing up. We looked online at the beginning of the summer and ordered the perfect dinosaur backpack from Pottery Barn for my budding paleontologist.
Never had I considered the idea that we should be looking at bulletproof backpacks.
We moved on to checkout but I couldn’t escape the thoughts created by the backpacks. Would I regret not equipping my 5 year old for battle? Should fear of the possibility be a part of preparing your child for Kindergarten?
This week I took my oldest son school shopping. It was an exciting evening for him as this is his first time buying school supplies. I was confronted with the truth of a bulletproof backpack. For me, it was unnerving.
He will start Kindergarten in just a couple of weeks.
I’m no longer ready.
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