• Bre'A Belle

Pinch Me. I Must Be Dreaming...

Updated: Sep 23, 2019

So, Draven got in trouble at school (right as Spring Break was about to start). His little report that tells us what he's learning, how he ate and slept, and about his behavior said that he needed a few reminders regarding keeping his hands to himself, playing pretend guns at school, and refusing to eat.

Playing pretend guns is what stood out to me the most, especially because the other two things are his typical behavior. I felt like I needed to actually sit down and talk to him about that one particular subject. He had no idea that it was bad to play guns in school. He's a little boy that likes what all little boys likes. He loves to play with his toy guns. I buy them for him all the time. But, playing pretend guns at school is like making bomb jokes on an airplane.

As you know, I treat him like my equal. If he has questions, I try my very best to answer them and end up educating myself sometimes. I make sure that if I know an answer or need to explain something, I break it down in a way that he can understand.

I sat down with him and let him know that I wasn't mad, but I needed to tell him why that was bad. I went on to explain the Columbine tragedy and what happened when two boys took real guns to their school and killed a lot of people. He asks me, "Well why did they do that Mommy?" I let him that sometimes people have things going on in their mind and brain that make them want to hurt people. I went further and explained what happened at Sandy Hook. I could tell that he had a much better understanding when I told him that that happened to kids his age.

My anxiety went into overdrive when I started to explain a situation that happened at my school before me, Mia, and Shakur graduated.

One morning, there was a strange man, dressed in professional clothing, strolling around the school and he was wearing a backpack. No one batted an eye. No one even questioned it and he left before lunch. Everyone knew that you didn't have to go through airport security measures to get into the school. Sometimes, the secretary would let you in and ask why you were there and then sometimes you could catch a kid strolling through the halls and they would just open the door for you. Hell, you could even go over to the middle school side where all you had to do was jerk the door and you'd be able to come right on in. No one knew for sure how he got in or if the staff even noticed him, but we knew that it wasn't difficult to get through those doors.

By the time lunch rolled around, it got spread throughout the entire school that the man had just been fired from his job and walked around the school for almost an entire day with guns in his backpack. We were all panicking (it happened shortly after those guys shot up a movie theater and Sandy Hook. My friend was so terrified and torn up that she left early the day of the Sandy Hook shooting and we all tried to avoid bringing up what happened at school. She broke down and went home and she didn't come back for more than a few days).

As the oldest sibling, I was in a frenzy while I was trying to find Mia and Shakur. I made sure they were at tables close to mine and made note of the exits(what made it even more terrifying was the fact that the lunches were separated. Mia and I ate during first lunch for the high schoolers and Shakur ate during second lunch for the middle schoolers. Thankfully, both sides always ate breakfast together right after we all got off of the bus. We were just on different ends of the cafeteria). I had a plan that if something were to happen, we would run for the back doors in the cafeteria and run down the mountain together (our Paw Paw's house wasn't too far from the school if we took the back road). I had never felt my fight or flight kick in such an intense way in all my life. Thankfully nothing ever happened, but we were still shaken up. Momma even kept us home for a couple of days.

We experienced some pretty scary shit during our time at Mount View. Everything happened from bomb threats, to hit lists, getting stuck on the snow and ice covered mountain for over three hours, to another student getting stabbed coming from Voc,resulting in the school being on lock down for an hour after we were supposed to be home (none of our parents found out what happened until it aired on WVVA later that evening and school was cancelled the next day), and insane riots every year because of "race fights" that went on for a week or so from the time we stepped off of those buses until we got back on them (I know. It was as stupid as it sounds).

As I was telling Draven that if that man had have started shooting at our school, he and Devin probably wouldn't be here today. None of us would and Momma would be sad (sad was actually an understatement. We were and are her world and she probably would have lost her shit completely).

I can't protect my kids from everything. I can only take pride in the moments that I do protect them and the moments where I take the time to educate them about life. This conversation with Draven really made me take a step back and realize that I'm stepping out of my comfort zone completely and letting my baby see the world for what it really is. For the longest time, I constantly had panic attacks just from the very thought of him being away from me. It was like I wanted to keep him in my womb, safe and sound and right next to my heart for forever, but I knew that that was impossible.

Just as expected, he's observing and taking in more and more information about the world just like I did at his age. I'm proud but it honestly scares me. I want him to be like I was, curious. But I don't want that to eventually become a problem because he and I are completely different individuals and he's not going to walk directly in my footsteps. I'm trying to be more laid back about letting him show me the kind of person he wants to be. At the end of the day, whether I like it or not, that's the way he's going to roll. I just have to take that step back and teach him, but also let him and Devin navigate their own lives.

The greatest thing you can ever do for your children is to educate them. Whether they will ever experience being in a situation with an active shooter or not, at least they will know that those are the kind of things that happen in life. Life doesn't always unfold the way you want or expect it to. Our little conversation really took me by surprise and I can safely say that we both reacted to it in a positive way and I really do feel like Draven learned a lot from it.

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