While schools were locked down across Central New York, my daughter got into her first car accident. Both events proved what really matters when you're the mom. (Or the dad.)

From the second your child gets a driver's licence, you dread getting a call that they've gotten into an accident. If we're being honest, basically from the second we have our kids, we dread some version of that phone call - they got hurt, they did something bad, they hurt someone else - for parents, part of being the parent is managing that fear, and resisting the temptation to wrap your kids in bubble wrap, and keep them at your side, holding your hand until they're 20...or 30.

Now we have to worry about school, too?

Yesterday was rough. We want to send our kids to school - or college - and believe that, so long as they remember our advice about drinking and safety, they'll be okay. But that's not true anymore: yesterday, no less than 5 schools were either locked out or locked down - New Hartford, Utica, Camden, Jarvis - and Utica College had SWAT teams searching buildings.

I saw the Facebook posts from kids I know at Utica College telling friends how terrified they were, how they huddled under desks - fearing for their lives. The fear affects us all - college students, elementary parents and teachers, law enforcement - it doesn't matter who you are. My daughter was fine, her car was less fine. The kids at all our schools are fine - afraid but fine. Yesterday served as a reminder that for some parents, their kids aren't fine. They're gone, just like that.

So yesterday, when my phone rang, and my daughter told me about her accident - I asked her the most important questions: Are you okay? Are you hurt? Are you safe? Because that's all that matters when you're the parent. 

We're having to ask those questions way too often.


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