To My School Aged Child ::
I want to keep you safe. I have been actively working on keeping you safe since the moment I found out you were growing inside me. I stopped eating my favorite ahi tuna salad. I tried, albeit brief, to give up caffeine. Once you were in my arms, I stressed about if the footed pajamas plus the heavy sleep sack would make you too warm. I made sure you always slept on your back because that’s what the research told us was the safest. I still worry if you’re getting all the proper servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
I think of you and your siblings safety always, and that’s why today I can’t stop crying.
I think of the parents who, just like me, worried about their babies but were powerless to stop their tragic fate.
This is not the world I want for you.
It’s okay that life isn’t always fair. You may not make the team. Your friend might hurt your feelings. Someone might break your heart. You may get a teacher you don’t click with. You have a boss that is a jerk. All of those will be hard for you, but you’ll learn and grow from them.
But what I’m not okay with is the fact that you could be sitting at your desk one day, and someone could come in and end your life. I’m not okay with the fact that I am powerless to protect you in a place you should be safe in. I am not okay that there are 17 families right now who will never be the same again. I am not okay that there are countless more families that have been through this, and there is an untold number of families that will likely go through this in the future.
I am not okay that our family could be one of them.
I struggle to find the balance between keeping your beautiful innocence but also making sure you are prepared for the darkness that exists in our world. I want you to hear things from me instead of your friends.
But how do I find the words to explain something to you that I myself cannot comprehend?
I am tired of worrying. I am tired of hearing people argue over who or what is to blame. I just want you safe. I don’t feel that is too much to ask. I want to know each morning when I drop you off that you’ll be there to hug me each afternoon. I want you to feel safe.
There is nothing in this world I wouldn’t do for you. But sadly, the one thing I want to do, I know I’ll never be able to fully do. On Monday morning, you’ll return to school and I will hug you a little tighter and send you off into the world. I will worry all day. Because I want you to return home to me.