By Doula Jen
I, like many mothers, am thinking of Newtown, CT today. One year after the Sandy Hook shooting and I am still chilled by the stories that I read that day. While I grieved for those mothers and fathers then and continue to do so one year later, I also felt a terrifying sense of empathy. I pictured this happening in my neighborhood school—with my children hiding in cabinets and their teachers, who already give SO much, sacrificing their own lives to keep students safe.
When I was a kid—growing up in Southern California—we had routine earthquake drills. The “what ifs” of my home town splitting open at the seems sometimes kept me up at night, and yet I now see that the emergency drills were what kept me safe one morning BEFORE SCHOOL when my childhood home started rocking and rolling.
Here in Minnesota, we have tornado sirens and safety protocol for such storms. My kids deal with these at school and we have made our adjustments at home during real threats. I have no problem, as a parent, working through these—however rare—possible natural disasters and the little questions they inspire. But…
I am afraid my heart will never get used to the fact that my little innocents have “Lock Down” drills and significant discussion of how to safely cope with an intruder in the school. It’s this that makes me—sometimes—make big, bold declarations: I hate guns. I hate our disconnected online culture. I hate letting them go…anywhere.
And then I take a deep breath and remind myself that love is much stronger than hate. I love my kids. I love how GOOD teachers are. I love the bravery and strength I see in every single parent I know—those who have experienced loss and those who are just trying to make ends meet.
Our world is nuts and it is also beautiful. When we have a child, we invite in a new and specific constant, merciless fear. We are certain that this world is just not good enough for this beautiful, sweet, pure being. This world is NOT good enough, but we must move through it as loving parents, focusing on the beauty.
Be brave everyone, in this mad and beautiful world and take a moment today to send love to ALL parents…and especially those in Newtown.