At first all I could hear on the other end of the line was urgent, quick breathing and one word: "Mom?!" It was my anxious child, clearly close to panic, alerting me to an unannounced early dismissal from school due to weather and "something about a student with weapons." Immediately my response was an attempt to calm her while asking direct questions until I was certain that the weather was real and the weapons were not! An e-mail from the school soon followed with clarification:
"[Our] Campus went into a precautionary security mode for a short period of time this morning in response to threats via social media. Law enforcement officials have investigated and have informed the school that these threats were part of a national hoax affecting numerous schools.
The students on all campuses will be released today at 11:30 a.m. due to a winter weather advisory. This early dismissal is entirely weather-related and is not due to the above incident."
A short while earlier, my phone had rung with an automated announcement from our younger sons' school regarding their early dismissal scheduled for 12:20. Thankful for Grandma and Grandpa Garcia's company for Silas while Pedro was in a Skype meeting, I slipped out the door in hopes of beating the icy conditions home with the children. My girls quickly met me but Owen was nowhere to be found when I reached their school. Not surprisingly, it was due to confusion with the sudden change of schedule. Eventually we connected and I gathered their accounts of the morning's strange events as we headed home.
The girls were both in chapel when an announcement was made that precautions were being taken "just in case" and all outside doors were locked with policemen "everywhere" (per Isabel.) The proceeded to their next classes until dismissal. Owen was in physical education class when a teacher "came running" and hurried them to their classroom where doors were locked and they practiced a "mini drill" which consisted of stacking chairs against the door and laying flat on the ground for a short while. Overall it seemed that for two out of three the excitement had mainly been a diversion from the norm.
But for my anxious child, it was a frightening morning on top of a nightmare-filled night. Added to that was the concern of icy conditions on the roads as we drove carefully back to town. I stopped at the younger boys' school to confirm whether their regular companions would walk home with them, and it was during my brief absence from the vehicle that panic flooded over. I returned to a disgruntled trio, one scared and hurt by siblings' criticism and two frustrated and tired of yet another emotional outburst.
We reached home just a few minutes before Ian and Alec arrived ice-covered yet safe and sound. The silver lining to our crazy Monday morning was having extra time with the grandparents before their scheduled departure this Wednesday! A family movie, yummy dinner, rousing game of Dutch Blitz and warm companionship helped make up for the worries that started the day. Around the dinner table we caught up on our unfulfilled tradition from Silas' and Ian's birthdays with each family member expressing what he/she loved about each of these two brothers/sons/grandsons. It was a general consensus that Ian's smile and happy heart were much admired, as were Silas' antics that bring the whole family together! I asked the kids if they remembered the theme of our morning devotions to share with their grandparents, and we ended our meal with two stanzas of a hymn we'd sung together around 7 a.m. (long before all the excitement had begun!)
What a Monday! What a morning! What gratefulness I have for God's gracious protection over us. Thank You, Lord.