Jessica's parents graduated two years ahead of me from Newtown High School. We were not friends, but I knew of them. I have close friends that are close friends of theirs- some of which ran along side me on the day of Jessica's race. And for whatever reason...having that distant connection to them and knowing that there are two people, two parents, so close to my own age that are dealing with something this incomprehensible......I still can't wrap my brain around it.
We are still in that age where bad things don't happen, we feel invincible for the most part. We live in a place where children aren't ripped from our arms. These things should not EVER happen. As a parent, you dream up every way to keep your child safe. Lock the doors. Buy a big dog. Teach them not to talk to strangers. Keeping them home from school never crosses your mind. Not here.
You may think you understand it, but you don't truly know it until you have a baby, that the phrase, "your heart walking around on the outside of your body," is so true it's impossible to put adequately into words. They are your heart, your soul, your reason for breathing. You would do anything to protect them. And you worry every second of every day that you'll look away for half a second and they'll touch that hot pan, do a nose dive into the coffee table, or fall off the swings. You want nothing more than to put them in a bubble and protect them from everything that could possible touch them. The mere thought of something harming your child sends your gut twisting and an ache takes over your whole body. You worry about school, but for the traditional reasons. A bully, not keeping up with the classroom milestones, falling on the playground. We can't live in a world where we have to add the unthinkable to that list of concerns. We, as parents, have enough to worry about. If there is something that we can do to make the world a little bit safer, a little less scary, we need to do it.
10 months later and nothing has been done. And I can give you 26 damn good reasons why that's not good enough.
Here is the beautiful Miss Jessica Rekos. She is the 18th angel I have now run for: