A friend of mine posted this on Facebook tonight with the caption, “Oh man…some days you just need to watch something like this and have a good cry.” I watched it, and I sobbed.
I’ve been feeling uninspired lately what with the daily run around and all the hoopla surrounding this time of year. I have been going through the motions and not really stopping to smell the roses, if you will.
I feel like in the 5 minutes it took me to watch this video, my range of emotions went from heartache for this young girl who has battled cancer. I know how horrible Ovarian Cancer is. My mom had it and it nearly killed her. Then my heart smiled when I saw Ellen’s face because let’s face it, Ellen is basically an actual saint. I knew she was going to do something wonderful for this young girl and of course, she did. I cried the ugly kind of cry where your face gets all red and you’re wiping snot from your nose. I cried the heaving sobs of someone who has just been hit repeatedly with a blunt object. I cried far more than I should have for such a sweet and frankly, very uplifting video.
It took me all of three seconds to realize the real reason for my tears. I am not going to get political because a) it’s useless and b) pretty much everyone reading this knows where I stand. But I will say this, part of the reason I sat at sobbed at this video was because of what happened in San Bernardino yesterday.
I cried for the victims.
I cried for the first responders who saw such carnage and pain.
I cried for the families.
I cried for the parents of the shooters.
I cried for community, the state, the country.
I cried for the fact that I am raising three children in a world that could not be more different than the world in which I grew up.
I’m not an old woman, there was a time when this wasn’t the norm. There was a time when you could play outside unsupervised and no one would call the cops. I remember being at my best friend’s house down the street and hearing my mom call me home for dinner. I remember when someone stole a lady’s purse right in front of me and it shook me to my core. I couldn’t imagine that kind of evil because I was surrounded by perfection.
But now my 6 year old and 5 year old have regular “lock down” drills at their heavily secured, private school in an upscale town. They come home from school and say things like, “we had a lock down drill again today and my teacher told us to hide in a closet or under a desk.” When asked why they have these drills they shrug and say, “in case someone comes in with a gun and shoots at us.” The nonchalant way the words roll off their tongues is absolutely horrifying. It’s as if there is nothing wrong with the words they just said. Eh, whatever, just in case someone tries to shoot us. Are you kidding me?
I cried for the fact that soon, my kids will get older and I’ll have to talk to them about things like drugs and violence. I cried because one day I’ll have to give them the dose of reality that I never really needed because times are so different now.
Innocence is gone. It has vanished with every new shooting and every drug overdose and every hate crime.
I sat on my couch with a pile of laundry at my feet and sobbed because of their future. I am just one mom, I can’t do anything. I feel helpless and out of control – only wanting them to be under my watchful eye in the safety of our home forever. I don’t want to send them out into a world like the one we’re living in now.
When you become a parent, no matter how you become a parent, a fire is lit inside of you – a sort of primal instinct that you can’t even put into words. To say that I would do anything for my kids would be an insane understatement. If I could atone for all of their pain, I would. I would take on every broken heart, every bruised ego, everything to save them from feeling anything but happiness and joy and perpetual childhood. But there are things that are out of my control and as much as I would like to change the world, I can’t.
I can however teach my kids kindness. Unwavering kindness. I can teach them to be strong and to think for themselves. I can see the awful in the world and show them how to find the silver lining. I can take them beautiful places, teach them to serve and to give back, I can take all the things I want to see in the world and plant them in our home. I want them to know that in our house, they are safe. They are free to think and explore and play. In our house they are innocent and absolutely no harm will come to them through me.
I can’t protect them from the world. It’s a sad reality and my heart hurts just admitting that. The world will come to them eventually but when it does, they will be ready for it. Or I will die trying.
“Words can be worrisome, people complex, motives and manners unclear. Grant her the wisdom to choose her path right, free from unkindness and fear.”
– Blueberry Girl by Neil Gaiman
I still weep at the thought of what lies beyond our front door. I am still shaken by yesterday’s events and livid that nothing is being done. But seeing kind people like Ellen doing something so simple and small for this young woman restores my faith in humanity. I am constantly uplifted by other women who share my passion and love for their kids. I’m inspired by the women I am surrounded by. I am lucky to have role models that did it right, that raised good people. I learned from the best and I am forever grateful for that. And in the darkest part of this week when I think that everyone is bad with a few good apples, I realize that that’s not true.
There are good people out there and I will make it my mission in life to make sure my kids are three of them regardless of the world we live in.