Twenty little elementary schoolers died today and there are no words really. Suddenly every other news story pales in comparison as well as every problem of mine, every issue I've raised, every word I've written. None of it matters in comparison to those 20 precious little lives.
About 2 months ago the Atlanta Botanical Garden, the place where I work, was filled for a day with wide-eyed kindergartners from city of Atlanta schools. There were no behavior issues with this group. There was no struggling to keep these children engaged. There was just a garden full of precious kindergartners taking it all in with innocent wonder. A Trachycarpus fortunei? Wow! A rare orchid? Awesome! A big puddle? Yea! A tiny stretch of lawn with really nothing in it but grass? Incredible! Oh, God love em. There is nothing like a kindergartner!
My own precious boys. My own memories of their kindergarten years. Their introduction to the larger world, to school, to homework, to teachers, to other kids, to buses, school lunches.
My own anxiety for their precious little selves in school 5 days a week. My joy at construction paper rainbows and pencil holders made out of popsicle sticks.
The tragedy of those parents who were undoubtedly not allowed to rush into the classroom today to see and be with what remained of their children, which, as any parent knows, goes completely against nature and instinct.
My heart aches for them and the loss of their little ones. And I humbly admit in the face of their unspeakable grief that there is really nothing I can say.