Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I Told My Child a Bald-Faced Lie After Newtown

Note: Originally published at Crassparenting.com

This was a weekend were I did my best to maintain composure and my usual jolly Christmas spirit. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I felt fragile. I felt that my family was vulnerable. I felt hopeless and sad. I still feel powerless to guarantee safety and protection for my family and friends. A half hour ago I was in the car drop-off line for my son's school. Most of the time, my son takes the bus but I let him sleep in today so I would need to drive him. Apparently other moms felt similarly, because the line was LONG. Our principal had more than the usual number of school staff greeting our kids. There was also an armed police officer there. My son noticed and commented about it. He is a kid prone to worry and anxiety and he asked me, "Are you worried that I am not safe here?" What a loaded question to have with only one cup of coffee in me. How did I answer? I lied through my teeth.
"Not at all. Would I ever put you in a position where you were not safe? You have a school that is very safe and filled with teachers and staff that love you guys." That seemed to satisfy him and he went to school with a smile on his face. Sandy Hook Elementary had safety procedures -- better than what my son's elementary school had as of Friday -- and teachers that love their students. They loved them so much that some sacrificed their lives for their students. The sad fact is this:there is no way to guarantee the safety of anyone anywhere. But that is not a concept that a 10 year old boy is able to grasp. His 45 year old mother is having a tough time wrapping her head around it. My husband describes my job as a mother as Chief Risk Manager, often followed by the nickname Mama Killjoy when I deem something inappropriate or too risky for my kids. I suspect that I am going to struggle with the urge to wrap my kids in bubble wrap and protect them from everything over these next few months. The harsh reality is that I cannot protect them from everything, and they could literally be taken from me in an instant. My only defense is that I can make sure that when they leave my protective embrace every day that they know they are loved very much. My only defense is love.   Photo via Fickr.

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