Scary Times :: Parenting through a Violent Tragedy

Life is Precious

On the day my son was born, I remember excitedly looking up famous birthdays and events that happened on that day. I scrolled on Google, still in my hospital bed, and saw that while though no one particularly interesting was born that day, he came into the world on the anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre. My heart sunk. While we were celebrating my son’s welcome to the world, one of the best days of our lives, twenty sets of parents were grieving the worst day of their lives. Twenty little children, who should be waiting for Santa to arrive, wouldn’t make their Christmas lists this year. Alone, in my bed, I wept for them.

If It Bleeds, It Leads

I’ve always had tremendous anxiety about violence. I chalk it up to being an empath, but in reality, no one is ever comfortable with senseless bloodshed. I try to quell those feelings by reminding myself that hundreds of thousands of acts of kindness go unheralded every single day. There is never a lead story on the evening news talking about how twenty people in a row had their coffee paid for by strangers. No above-the-fold story talks about a six year old who gave her lemonade stand profits to an animal shelter. As the saying goes, if it bleeds, it leads, because violence is shocking to almost everyone’s sensibilities. It’s NOT the norm. Repeating this mantra in my head is sometimes the only way I can make it through the day without feeling panicky.

A Rude Awakening

When I woke up this morning, I could hear E already calling for me from his crib. “Mommy! Mommy!” – it’s my favorite sound in the world. I got him up and got him breakfast. As I rounded the corner, my husband said, “Well, I guess you’ve already seen the headlines.” I hadn’t. At least 50 people were dead with hundreds more injured in a mass shooting in Las Vegas. It took everything I had not to take E and crawl back in his crib with him. In that moment, I wished I was pregnant with him again so he would be back in my belly, protected. I wished I could keep him safe forever.

True Courage

Being a mom is always hard and sometimes terrifying. Being a mom is always feeling every emotion at max volume; love, fear, joy, confusion. Sometimes it’s the best thing ever. Sometimes it’s too much to bear; all those emotions swirling in your heart. But being a mom is always an act bravery, whether you feel like it is or not.

Moms, you’ve taken the dream of the thing you would most fiercely protect and incarnated it into a little human. You’ve set that little person free in an unforgiving, cold world. That is bravery. To be a mom is to be hopeful that the future could possibly be better. It’s wishing that the carefully protected optimism and innocence of our babies could kindle a spark of love, of happiness, to set the world ablaze with goodness. Love them fiercely, teach them well, and let them grow to change the world. But for today, consider turning off your news or logging off social media for a while to protect your heart. Tomorrow is not guaranteed, so hug your babies right now. Try to focus on those close to you and breathe. This world is full of violence, but it’s also full of joy.

To be a mom is to believe. And though I am scared, I believe that there is more good than bad in the world. Your children are the proof.

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