Playing Tag

I started out today observing, soaking in my day. Gathering information in order to put it together later and blog about it. I have to tell you that from the time I woke up this morning, to the time I went to work, to the time I left my after work outing to go home, I never anticipated, I never expected to be tagged!

We’re all involved in this game of tag. You know, allowing yourself to be touched by or effected by “it”. “It” can be anything and many things. I got tagged today by “it”.

If I dig way back into my memories, I can almost pinpoint where this particular game of tag started. Way back in the 1980’s, a lady named Laurie Dan shot up an elementary school, people were hurt, people were killed…children were killed, at a grade school. I was maybe 10 at that time, so I wasn’t even aware of this peculiar game of tag. Too young to know that “it” was even a thing. I do remember “it”, I was a little scared, at that point I was just picking up on the vibes and nervous energy of the adults around me. They knew about “it”, they were involved in their own personal game of tag.

Fast forward to my senior year in college. Columbine. Still playing tag, nope not “it”. I watched the news. Felt bad for the victims, prayed for them. Still not “it”.

The older I get, it’s getting more and more difficult to not get tagged in this vicious game. I must tell you, Sandy Hook, my goodness, that one almost got me. I was at work when I found out. It was the end of the day when the school social worker told me what happened. I wanted to throw up. It took every bit of teacher super power in me not to break down in front of my class. Luckily it was close to the end of the day so I was able to make it through the day tear free (my workday anyway). I kept thinking of how earlier that day, the kindergarten teachers in my school were preparing for the gingerbread day. The kids would travel around the building looking for gingerbread men who were hidden throughout the building. They also got to make gingerbread houses. It was a special magical day for kindergarten. I felt it too. I couldn’t help but wonder if those kids at Sandy Hook Elementary were looking forward to a special day at school. Yeah, Sandy Hook, still hurts my heart today. I guess that’s the reason why I upped my tag game. Oooooh yeah…the queen of the swerve.

Parkland. I. Can. Not. I watched the news, got the facts. Okay, I can. News conference with parents of victims, I can not. News coverage of classmates, I can not. News coverage of teachers and students coming back to school this week. I. Can. Not. You see, this is how you get good at the game. Stay on the outskirts, don’t let “it” touch you. Learn the players, but don’t get involved. Don’t entertain the notion of crying with these students, teachers, and parents. Don’t you dare learn about the victims, you may get tagged, “it” may catch up to you and grab you an shake the living mess out of you. Make you have to see…see that “it” is our reality.

This morning I went in to work (day of meetings). My colleague mentions a shooting at Central Michigan University. Easy game of tag, all the way in Michigan. Pssshhht. Only 2 people, domestic incident. I won’t even. This one goes into automated tag not much effort to avoid this one. Nameless, faceless victims of violence. Better keep it that way. Don’t want “it” to come knocking down my door. It may be on the news, maybe not. Won’t dig into that story too much. I’m still hiding from Parkland. Wait…Is this hide and go seek or tag I’m playing?

Can I tell you IT CAME FOR ME TODAY!!!!!! Nameless, faceless victims become two parents whose daughter is close friends with your daughter. They become parents who you’ve indirectly coordinated outings between your teenage daughters with. They become a frantic text from your daughter begging you to come home early because her friends parents were killed by her brother. They become a plea from your child to come home because she’s afraid. They become you going into mommy mode not just for your child, but for this now orphaned teenage girl. I’ve been tagged! Now that “it” has caught up with me, what do I do? I’ve been avoiding “it” for so long because I don’t know what to do with “it”. This problem, this huge problem of gun violence. This problem of poor mental health, of drugs, of broken families, of hurt people/children, of broken systems, of broken hearts, of broken spirits, of hopelessness. This is “it” and I don’t know what to do!

18 thoughts on “Playing Tag”

  1. You face “it” and beat it back with everything you have got. And because you are a teacher, and a mommy, and a strong person, you will know what to do. You wrote such a powerful piece and put a name to the terror we all subdue. We are stronger than it. Thank you for your message and stay strong.

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  2. I’m so sorry. My heart aches for you, and I don’t know what to do either. I had a student whose mother died unexpectedly of a heart attack last week, and I feel so helpless. I want to make it better and can’t. I can’t begin to imagine what you’re trying to handle. I have no advice except to make your love and compassion visible. This violence… this madness… it must be stopped. We must stop this.

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  3. hard post, but necessary. reminds me of the “first they came” poem. these things are hard from afar, but gut-wrenching right up close. sending love.

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  4. I’m sorry this has come so close to you and your family. I’m sorry every day that this is real life. Have you read the picture book, Come With Me by Holly McGhee. It’s what I thought of while reading your post today.

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  5. Wow! This was a powerful engaging post. It created so much good empathy in me. When “it” invades your inner circle, there is no way to keep “it” at arms length anymore. I’m sad to say, time will make it easier, because it shouldn’t. We need our lawmakers and leaders to be touched by this violence and pain and make change. My hope is the solution will come from our youth. Thank you for being so brave to write this post.

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  6. Oh Savena.
    I also have a mutual friend who knew this family somehow. I wonder if you 2 are also connected. My heart is aching and breaking over and over with no reprieve.

    The “it” caught up to me with Parkland because that is where my family lives, Stoneman Douglas was my cousin’s high school, and Broward is the district I used to teach in.

    I haven’t been able to really talk or write about it yet, because, well I’m not ready. But I’ve also done a great job of swerving and dodging.

    All I can say is I am so sorry “it” found you and your loved ones.

    Liked by 1 person

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