When Does It End?
This morning as my baby boy nuzzled in to my husband and I, I held him extra tight. When I looked at my phone the first thing that popped up was the mass shooting in Thousand Oaks and I immediately burst in to tears. When does it end? WHY is this happening? Is this our new normal? What is this world we are creating for our babies? I can not remember a time when I was in elementary school, middle school, or even high school when we were ever concerned about peers with guns. I never watched a debate or thought about ever hearing elected officials speak on giving our severely underpaid teachers firearms. I never practiced a shelter in place for an active shooter. Sadly, this will not be my children’s reality.
I’ve been obsessed with crime shows for as long as I can remember and while so many people love them, I sometimes feel like I can’t shake them afterward. I have always felt so paranoid about predators, or murderers and have actively advised, and excessively pestered my sister about constantly checking her surroundings, about never being on her phone when shes alone and constantly remaining vigilant about her surroundings. While it is so important to me to teach my babies about safety, about strangers, about what is a safe touch and what is not, I often struggle with finding a balance. I want my babies to enjoy, bask in and celebrate their life. I don’t want them to worry about every unfamiliar face, or every dark corner. Life is an exciting adventure and I want them to experience it in full. My greatest desire is to soak up every single one of their worries, every doubt, every hesitation. But How?! I live with so many of them myself. How do I keep them safe, without teaching them to be afraid? I do not want to place my fears on them. I recently had a conversation with my husband as we were discussing all the different school options for our babies, as we want to be as well informed as possible for when the time comes. I have been looking in to home schooling and for a lot of people, I think it is a phenomenal option. I had to have a really honest look at myself and I realized that although a wonderful option for many, I was not interested in home schooling for the right reasons. The biggest draw for me was that I wouldn’t have to let go of my babies. I just don’t feel that is healthy mentally, emotionally, or socially for my babies or for me.
There are so many books, courses and articles on how to speak to our babies about certain dangers,but how do we protect them from something like mass shootings? How do we restrict them from going to the movies? The mall? A concert or even out to eat with their friends? Especially when they are of age, when they are no longer in our homes. When we go out I often look for the exits, I don’t like sitting with my back to entrances, and I distinctly remember going to the movies with a girlfriend and being so uneasy because I saw a man by himself who kept switching seats. I can not tell you what movie we even saw but I remember the pit in my stomach as I stared at this man waiting for him to jump up… I can’t even get myself to put in to the universe the end of that thought. When I had my babies the world was suddenly a thousand times more beautiful, but simultaneously the harsh reality and fear set in. All I want to do is protect them, while being able to set them free. I guess as parents there are many contradictions about what we want for our babies and wishes versus reality. I have no answers, and an overwhelmingly amount of questions. At the end of the day all we can do is hold our babies tight, teach them as much as we can, and pray and/or put out in to the universe that they will be alright.
THIS HAS TO END. If anyone has any ideas about how we can bring change, how we can band together and stop this. I can not see another life cut short, I can not see another parent mourning the life of their baby. I can not see another sibling crying at a grave. This is not a burden that a child should ever have to carry. It is truly heartbreaking, but it can not be another hashtag, another moment of silence, another life lost in vain.
MENTAL HEALTH IS IMPORTANT. GUN LAWS NEED TO CHANGE.
I haven’t stopped crying, my heart is in pieces watching these parents beg to see their babies. I will never understand why. I will never understand how. I will never understand. This can not be a reality and much less the future that our babies live in.