When my first-grader asked me about the ribbon on my jacket yesterday afternoon, I was not sure exactly what to say. A few thoughts zoomed through my head as I settled on my response which was, “It’s just a Christmas ribbon.”
While I feel a sense of relief that my six-year old doesn’t understand the nature of the events that occurred in Newtown, CT a week ago today, the reality is that what the ribbon symbolizes most to me is the precious gift that we have in our nation’s children. As a parent of an elementary student, I have been riding the wave of emotions that so many of us have experienced in the last week. I am continually amazed at so many of her qualities, ones that she shares with her elementary-aged peers, qualities like happiness, resilience, and innocence just to name a few.
The fallout from the events last week have impacted so many of us due to the fact that we lost 20 little ones in such a a violent and unfathomable way. As a nation, we are struggling to gain back our feelings of happiness, resilience and innocence. But while things will never be the same, I pray that time will allow us to overcome our new fears for our children so that we can be united in our unending efforts to ensure that our students our emotionally and physically safe.
There are just too many levels to this conversation for a quick and easy solution. But when I look down at the ribbon on my jacket today, my initial thoughts of this national tragedy have moved from anger to acceptance. The initial horrific pictures in my head have moved on to more positive visions. These are visions of an amazingly resilient community who has come together to support one another in the worst of times. They are stories of strength and forgiveness from those who have been affected the most.
So what I could not say to Mary Clare is this:
The ribbon is a symbol of a community that has gone through a horrific tragedy and in dealing with these events the people of this community have shown an entire nation inconceivable resilience. It is so much more than “just a Christmas ribbon…”