Each morning, you stand by the window watching your boys until they're on the bus or picked up. You watch them leave your circle of safety and hope for the best. You can't know what that day will bring. Nothing, maybe. Or maybe a bomb threat. Maybe a math test. Maybe a lockdown drill. Or maybe a real lockdown.
But on this day, there is something different.
A rally. A walk-out. A demonstration.
Your oldest son asked if you'd call to have him dismissed and bring him downtown to attend the demonstration. You want your voice to be heard, and even more, you want your son's voice to be heard, so you call the school, you pick him up, you drive downtown.
You don't know what to expect, but the reality makes you weepy. A crowd of teenagers, many carrying hand-drawn signs stand gathered in front of the church, chanting. Adults congregate around the edges. A band plays, keeping time for the chants. Horns honk as their drivers show support. One man in a truck wags his finger in dissent at them. Local politicians chat with the group.
You chant and cheer until your throat hurts, even though you realize that you're the only adult in that part of the crowd standing with the kids doing so. You're enveloped in the courage of these kids. You wish you could squeeze them all, imbue them with strength and with courage, with hope and with love. Instead, you walk over to the coffeeshop and buy as many hot chocolates as you can carry in two trays.
"Whipped cream?" the barista asks.
"Yes," you say.
You load up the trays and hope you don't slip on the snow outside. When you make it back to the crowd, you worry that no one will want any--after all, you're a stranger, even if your intentions are good.
"Hot chocolate?" you ask, and before you know it, the cups are received with gratitude and delight, and the trays are emptied. Of course. Teenagers. March in New Hampshire. It's cold and many of them are not dressed for the weather.
A woman drives by, honking her horn and blowing kisses.
Steady on, my friends. We're behind you all the way.