I put this on Twitter, and then I was like, "Self, why did you put that on Twitter? First of all, it took EIGHT tweet installments to say it. That is not the point of Twitter, self. Secondly, now it scrolls down and disappears forever, and then next year when you're thinking, 'Where is that thing I wrote about this??,' you will search all your blog archives and be completely mystified because WHERE DID IT GO? And I will not be here to say, 'You put it on TWITTER, dummy.'"
So I will write it here again, even though this will be a bit dull for those who already saw it on Twitter already. We will all suffer together, but only briefly, and next time I will try to remember to write it here to begin with, so that we can write or read it ONCE.
Here is what happened: Several people on Twitter were talking about how their schools wanted them to write a reassuring note to their children, to pack in an emergency preparedness kit. Then we all died from the agony of facing that task. The end.
One particularly wrenching thought was that if it's a big emergency, this could be THE LAST COMMUNICATION YOUR CHILD EVER GETS FROM YOU. This is too much pressure for a note, I think we can agree on that. This just BEGS parents to start making lengthy, sobbing lists of everything they would want to tell their child if this was their last chance, and I think we can further agree that the resulting note is not going to be reassuring to a child.
So as I was lying awake night after night having horrified thoughts about this whole thing, I came up with two goals:
1. The note needs to reassure the child without going overboard/crazy, in the situations where it is mostly likely the note will be used: a bomb scare where there is no bomb, a tornado alert where the tornado does not arrive.
2. The note needs to still work if the child will, unthinkably, be treasuring this note forever.
Here is what I would write:
Hello from Mommy! This is the note they told us to write to you in case something scary was happening! We'll be there to get you as soon as we can. Be sure to obey your teachers; they will take good care of you while you are waiting. Don't worry, everything will be fine! I love you!
Then I would decorate with a bunch of cheery little drawings: our cat doing something silly; a picture of Daddy with a family joke written over it; hearts and stars all over the place.
I would rig a little plastic shelter over my paper/hands as I wrote, to keep the paper from being stained with DRIPPING TEARS.