Today was a pretty typical day around here. Went to work, got annoyed by people, the standard fare. Got the kids from school, went home and covered the homework thing, then got started cooking.
My youngest tends to hang out with me while I cook a good bit. My little cheffer, as he calls it. So I ask him what he did at school today. He answers in his lovely little six-year-old voice, “We had a safety drill.”
I keep cutting potatoes, clueless. “Cool, honey. What do you do during a safety drill?”
“We lock ourselves into the music room so the bad people can’t get us.”
Dead stop. Knife mid-air, I just stand there for a second while what my son just said to me sinks in. And his tone was so matter of fact. It didn’t faze him one bit. Me? Yeah, I’m a little less resilient.
It’s not that I don’t understand the realities of today’s society. I knew they had these drills and know why they have to be prepared just in case. Good God, the last two weeks have shown us that. But to hear it come out of my child’s mouth took me aback a moment.
But then I get thinking about my own childhood. I grew up in Cheyenne, Wyoming. A missile base. A first strike target. We practiced nuke drills, climbing under our desks in case the Russians decided to drop the big one. We all knew it was a waste of time. We knew that if World War III ever came, we would be gone in a flash, that sitting under our desks would do no good. In fact, we rather took comfort in the fact that in the even of nuclear war, we probably wouldn’t even have time to crawl under our desks. We were a first strike target. We’d be vapor long before the rest of the world even knew the bombs were coming. Somehow, even at six and seven years old, we knew that was a better fate than surviving it.
So whenever I think of my kids growing up in a screwed up world, I realize that we all grew up in a screwed up world. Somethings are better than when I was a kid. Some things are worse. Some things never change, we just talk about it now. But in the end, all I can do is the same thing my parents did. Make sure my kids know I love them, make sure they are as prepared in an emergency as much as they can be, and do everything I damned well can to keep them out of harm’s way. While they are still allowed to have a life.
Piece of freaking cake.