Tag Archives: tragedy

Room to Grow

14 Dec

A few weeks ago, I started writing an unfinished blog about how it’s been tough for me to give my kids room to grow. I’ve been worried that I’m suffocating their free spirits by not letting them play outside by themselves more – or stay over more friends’ houses – or let them walk the block to the bus stop without supervision. I see children playing outside in our neighborhood with other kids, no adult in sight. It looks as though they run this place. Confident and carefree, growing into their own. My kids, meanwhile, are sheltered.

It’s not that I don’t trust my children. I don’t trust others and situations outside of my watch. It’s been like that even for sleepovers at friends’ houses. Nia just had her first “alone” sleepover at a friend’s this year and I was worried the whole time. I woke up in the middle of the night. I checked my phone. She was fine and I felt like a mess. What’s my problem? I played outside until the street lights came on or until I heard the yell from home base. I had sleepovers and adventures sans adults. It’s just so tough for me to let them walk barefoot in the grass because I feel like when I do, they get stung by a bee.

What I need to remember is that the bee is really out of my control. I didn’t see it there as I sat and read my book. The kids didn’t see it there as they giggled and chased each other. Moments of bliss, interrupted with pain and tears. Mom and dad are there to make it better though. Scoop them up with hugs and kisses – medicine and a bandage. Don’t forget the ice cream. Still, we are able to be the protectors. Always the protectors. But what happens when you can’t be there to protect or comfort?

The heartbreaking tragedy that happened in Connecticut today captures that fear for me. Each day, we send our children on their merry – or cranky (depending on their mood that morning) – way to school and we head off to work or to whatever routine we have on the schedule. “Love you! Have a great day!” Words of caring we exchange to each other as they walk toward the bus or building. “See you later.” Because that’s what’s supposed to happen. See you later.

Sometimes, the hurt that happens when they are away from us isn’t permanent like the violence of today. Hurt feelings or worry in their hearts because of bullies, a fight with a friend or boys saying rude and inappropriate things. (That last one happened to Nia today.) For the most part, that hurt can be healed with an end of the day hug and talk with mom and dad. They feel better. They have some options on how to handle things if it happens again. They know teachers will be there to help because mom and dad talked with them. But still, I couldn’t keep them protected at the moment of their pain and I need to absorb that I never will be able to do that. They are not hurt-proof. None of us are. Mere mortals. Breakable. Perishable. Fragile.

Thinking about what happened in Connecticut today, my heart hurts for all those facing “What now?” and it hoards fear about “What if?” I am telling myself to allow my children to savor more barefoot in the grass and sleepover moments – especially for all those innocent little ones who now cannot.

The Tragedy of a Tragedy

21 Apr

I didn’t want to write about this because it’s hard for me to put it all into words. In fact, I just spent way too long trying to come up with an adjective to describe what happened at Virginia Tech.  I thought of horrible and then deleted it – terrible? no – heartbreaking? – scary?  – shocking?  – when you think about it – any word would be too generic and using one makes me feel like I’m writing TV news and that just makes me want to vomit.  I’m just so sickened by how many news organizations are reporting what happened and then adding their thoughts about why it happened.

This is really why I’m writing.  A recent opinion article in our local newspaper really infuriated me this week. It was entitled “What are we teaching our boys?”  The writer used some stats to show that boys are responsible for the majority of extreme violence in U.S. schools over the last 10 years and then went on to say it’s because we’re teaching boys that in order to be masculine they shouldn’t cry. If you’d like to read it, click here.  If you did, please tell me what you thought.

Here’s what I thought – those stats about the attackers may be accurate but what about the percentage of victims who were boys?  They obviously were “taught” right.  Also, you can be the most loving, caring, peaceful parent who ever existed and your son or daughter could still have violent tendencies.  Along those lines, why is it when a woman is the attacker people tend to make excuses for her – she either had something bad happen to her or she’s crazy – but when a boy is to blame it’s because he wasn’t raised right?  I mean, how can she even say that when she really has no freaking clue how any of those boys were raised?  I just feel she totally generalized and it disgusts me that she is paid to have her opinion published.

What makes me even more disgusted and saddened is all of the “expert” opinions and finger-pointing that happens after a tragedy. Isn’t it bad enough that it happened?  Why is it people always have to make it worse by hurting others more?  It’s campus security’s fault – no it’s psychologists’ fault – no it’s the school’s fault – no it’s the parents’ fault – no it’s your fault!  AH!

I’m not pretending to know what anyone involved is going through – I know, for many, finding blame is a way to heal – I guess I just worry about what comes next for the people who thought they did everything they could and now have to live with the judgment and criticism.  Really, what it comes down to is that my heart is hurting for ANYONE who is hurting and I just wish tragedies like this would bring people together – not tear them down.


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