When we moved to Parkland a few months ago, my dreams came true. I was near my family, I was away from the cold weather, I had a brand new house, even my very own swimming pool. Our street is lined with palm trees and is filled with children to play with my kids. We moved here for family, for weather, for happiness. We picked Parkland because it was the safest place with the very best schools. It felt like paradise.
During the past few days I have been paralyzed with grief, fear, anger. I have slept a lot. I saw others helping, grieving, comforting...but I was frozen. I'm not proud of that. But it's the truth.
On Wednesday night I gave my daughter a bath.
"Mommy, can I whisper a secret to you?"
"Of course you can."
"I am so scared," she whispered.
She knows. She heard everything. She saw us crying. She saw the helicopters, the SWAT team...she heard the sirens.
I pulled her out and wrapped her in my arms.
"You are safe with me. You are safe."
But my heart was pounding and my tears were flowing.
I am scared too.
I am actually paralyzed by fear that something like this could happen to someone else.
I drove my son to school yesterday. Emotionally, he seems better than expected. He doesn't seem scared to go to school. My neighbors always drive him, but they had a funeral to attend. They lost a close friend -- a beautiful 14 year old girl who was murdered at our High School. I cried so hard driving away from the school that I actually got lost. I can't find words to explain how I feel. I don't even want to find the words.
My sister attended the funeral of a high school freshman boy who was also murdered at our High School on Wednesday. She was there to be on hand for anyone that needed the support that she can offer. She wants to help absorb other people's anguish. She is stronger than me.
I am drawing on the love, strength and compassion around me.
I am not going to sleep anymore.
I will be a voice against guns.
I still have my children and I will help in ways that I can.
I will be the best person I can be, and teach my children to act with love and kindness always.
Editor's Note: Lauryn Shapiro is married to Michael Shapiro, Founder of TAPinto.