What If I took my child to school one day
And sent him off with a hug and kiss and “have a good day”
And watched him run, carefree and happy and laughing?
What if I went home and changed his sheets
So he could be surrounded by the soft scent of lavender
As he rests his sweet head full of letters and numbers?
What if I went out on an errand
And picked up that toy or game he had been begging for
Just so his smile could light up my soul
And bring giggles and smiles into our home?
What if I made his favorite treat: cookies and brownies
Filled with bits of chocolate with a side of chocolate chips
Just waiting for his hands at the end of a day at school?
But what if he slunk out of the car in the morning
Grumpy and angry without a goodbye
Shrugging off hugs and kisses because he’s too old now?
What if we argued last night or this morning
And he flung “I hate you” around?
What If I spent the night or early morning crying
Because I didn’t know where I went wrong or what to do?
What if he slammed doors in my face and cursed at my heart
Angry at me and the world, refusing to understand my pleas?
What if he walked into school one day
Whether happy or sad or angry
And never walked back out?
What if my sweet child was stolen from me
And I wouldn’t see him again until I traveled to a morgue?
What if he was an innocent victim
Someone who would never sleep in clean sheets
Or eat chocolate chip cookies
Or play with another toy
Or give hugs and kisses
Or slam doors
Or even lie to my face
What if my darling boy, the joy of my heart,
Died in school one day?
What if he never experienced the painful joy of first love
Or the happiness of an everlasting heart
Or the conflicting shyness when faced with a crush?
What if there were no future adventures meant for him
Whether the wild parties of college
Or solitary travels around the world?
What if he never experienced the tough breaks
Never getting the coveted job or promotion
Always working hard, but never getting anywhere?
Though what if he never experienced the thrill
Of coming out on top
Of conquering the world and feeling
What if his life was meant
To be charmed
Or full of potholes
But he couldn’t be alive to experience it?
As you can tell, all these school shootings have been on my mind today. It makes me terrified to send my baby to Kindergarten next year. My heart goes out to those who have lost their children or watched them struggle to recover from injuries.