Photo Credit: AP Photo/Newtown Bee, Shannon Hicks
It was 10:11 am that I saw an email flash along the bottom of my laptop screen. Schools in our town were on lockdown because of a shooting. My heart dropped. Within seconds, I learned it was my children's school.
There's nothing that prepares you for a moment like that. Nothing that can temper the fear, panic and worry. It wasn't a shooting just anywhere. It was our school.
Shaking, I tried to figure out what one does when something like this happens. Do I go to the school? Stay at home for news? Fortunately, my best friend called and said "Go. Just go." So I did.
My young daughter, who attends kindergarten in the afternoon at the school, asked me what was wrong as we rushed to the school. I tried to explain that something bad had happened and we had to get Will, her big brother. "We just have to get Will," I said.
Parents ran past us to the Sandy Hook Fire House. A frantic woman walking with her son said, "Are you getting kids? They're inside the fire house." Her words meant so much, because I had a place to go. A place to find my little boy.
Inside, it was chaotic, with crying kids and parents. Teachers and police and parents were doing what they could -- handing out water, reassuring, trying to get some order. Kids were moved to a bigger room so that parents could get them while checking out with the teachers.
The moment I spotted Will's little brown haired head was one of such great relief. I hugged him. I hugged his teacher.
But this isn't over. My family is safe -- thank God -- but our school community was shattered today by a horrific tragedy. The details are still coming little by little. Just a little while ago, we learned that at least 27 souls were lost today, including 20 children. My heart is breaking for all the families.
Our community is a small one. Our school is a little neighborhood school where the laughter of children often carries from the playground. I don't know how we'll get through this. But I have faith we will.
Sarah W. Caron is a writer and mom of two.