And now the house is quiet, as I sent them off, one by one, backpacks and lunches, onto big yellow buses and down the street, away from me, away from this home, out of my arms.
And they are safe.
Dangling from my little ones bag is a charm of Saint Michael.
On that unimaginable morning, when evil came to destroy, and hearts were shattered, I blessed my son before he innocently skipped away. "I pray that God sends all of His angels to protect you today."
That was my send off.
That is why, when I learned of the nightmare, I dropped to my knees believing that he was gone.
It was weeks after the tragedy that he looked up at me-my goodness, he was just six-and he asked me, "Mom, is it because you asked the angels to protect me that I did not die?"
And how do you even answer this?
Could it be that because I called to the angels for help that day, that my son was spared, and 26 other lives were not?
"No, honey. The angels were everywhere that morning. The school, in fact, was filled with so many angels. They did protect your friends and teachers, because before they even knew what was happening, those angels scooped them right up, and in a flash, brought them straight into the arms of Jesus."
He thought for a moment. Then his mouth frowned.
"Mom, I'll bet they were crying."
"Who?" I asked. "The children?"
And as he hung his head low, he whispered, "No, mom. The angels."
I think about this moment a lot. Every morning, in fact, when I put him on the bus. Every single morning. And when I look back on that day, I do not see the evil. I do not wail in the darkness. I do not dwell on the violence. I do not give up an ounce of my joy. Because what I see are a legion of angels-Gods messengers-fighting and protecting-sheltering and guiding. A flurry of feathers and light, of wings and of grace, casting away evil, rejoicing in heaven, placing the little ones in the safety of His arms.
"War broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels battled against the dragon. The dragon and its angels fought back, but they did not prevail and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The huge dragon, the ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, who deceived the whole world, was thrown down to earth, and its angels were thrown down with it.
Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
Now have salvation and power come, and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Anointed. For the accuser of our brother is cast out, who accuses them before our God day and night. They conquered him by the Blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; love for life did not deter them from death. Therefore, rejoice, you heavens, and you who dwell in them."