Me: Good morning, Hank.
Hank: Good morning, mom. How did you sleep?
Me: Wonderfully, thank you, and you?
Hank: I slept okay. It’s weird, on Sundays or the day before I have to go back to school like yesterday after ferias (vacation) I get this feeling. I don’t know, I’m weird I guess.
Me: What kind of feeling? Like kinda nervous, but kinda not?
Me: That isn’t weird, buddy, that is called anticipation. Everyone feels anticipation.
Hank: Oh, good to know I am not alone.
Me: (smiling) Not in the least.
Hank: (pleased sigh, goes back to collecting cherries in his video game)
Me: (sitting down next to him with my coffee, looking out the window at the dawn) Do you hear that?
Hank: (looking up) What?
Me: The birds? Those are robins telling us it is spring.
Hank: I thought spring wasn’t until March.
Me: Often we can rely on nature to tell us differently. Birds don’t have calendars.
Hank: You’re right, I don’t remember hearing a bird like that last week.
Me: That is because last week was still winter. (pulling my phone out of the pocket of my robe to read the newspaper, gasp and burst into sudden, hot, intense tears)
Me: (tears streaming down my cheeks) Hank, I have to turn on the news.
Hank: Mom, what happened? (getting up to turn on the TV and bring over the remote)
Me: 17 people died at a school yesterday.
Hank: Another school shooting?
Me: (crying, nodding)
Hank: Oh my god. I am so sorry.
Me: Can you go into the kitchen for just five minutes and play your game in there?
Hank: No, I want to see the news.
Me: Buddy, the visual news will be graphic. Here (handing him my phone) take my phone and read the news article.
Hank: No, mom, it’s okay. I will stay with you. I want to see what happened and hold everyone in my heart.
Me: I don’t want you to be frightened.
Hank: I don’t have to be frightened. You and Pai brought me to Portugal so that I don’t have to be frightened of these things. School shootings don’t happen here and even if one did we don’t have any war weapons in Portugal.
Hank: (holding my hand)
Me: (bear witness)
Hank: Oh no, they filmed it. They’re so scared, mom.
Me: (weeping) They called their moms.
Hank: I would do that. I would call you.
Me: (weeping) Please, don’t watch.
Hank: It’s okay, mom.
Me: It is most certainly not okay. (holding every single member of that school community in my heart)
Hank: Maybe this will change things. Maybe this shooting will be the reason things change.
If you are an American citizen over the age of 18 and you want be a part of the change follow the links below:
Stay informed about how you can enact change in your community through the organization Every Town For Gun Safety.