I didn't call my sons' school, although I truly felt like it. I just wanted to hear Kathleen's voice telling me, "Oh the kids are fine. All is well."
I will call myself a ninny for worrying so much. We will go on.
But for the next week or so I will be extra vigilant about my children watching the news (which they're not allowed) or even seeing headlines blaring from newspapers or popping up on the iPad. This is because I am heart heavy about the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., which killed 28 people, including 18 children.
I remember my conversation with Suzanne Silverstein, founding director of the Psychological Trauma Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Silverstein said it's always better to learn about this kind of news from parents, so that we can explain it in a way that is best for our children.
Silverstein and her staff help heal the psychological wounds of children who have witnessed or experienced violence, including bullying, domestic abuse and other tragedies. The center's mental health professionals work with students in 26 schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District providing crisis intervention, substance abuse prevention, art therapy and teacher training.
How do deal with this tragedy when all I want to do is pick up my kids from school and cocoon ourselves at home? Silverstein advises dealing with our own anxieties first. (There's plenty here from this mother, I can tell you that.)
"How we talk, what we eat and drink is all a statement to our children," she said. "How do we address fun, positive things in our lives, as well as the horrific and painful situations? Our actions give a message to our children."
Silverstein said parents should be honest about life and what has occurred and show appropriate emotions.
"When we illustrate that we can be sad, upset and hurt, deal with the feelings and then move on, we are illustrating to our children how to be resilient," she said. "If we as parents become so upset that our lives stop then we are saying to our children that life is too hard and too painful to move forward."
And that is not the message I want to share with them at all.
Anissa Rivera is a former LANG staff writer and mother of three. She writes a weekly column on parenting.