I’m still aching after the events of last Friday. Although the tragedy occurred on the opposite side of the country, I could too easily put myself in the position of those parents. The fear, and then horror, that they must have experienced. That they’re still experiencing.
But I have to stop looking at the news stories for my own sanity and because I have to keep it from my children. Thankfully, they’re too young to know that anything is going on. I also hid them from the news of a shooting in the mall just a few miles from our home – and just a few days before when we thought it couldn’t get much worse.
Four year olds and seven year olds shouldn’t be afraid to go to the mall, and they most certainly should not be afraid to go to school. As parents, we are forced to carry that fear on their behalf but somehow hide it from them at the same time.
I’m not sure if my children noticed that my hugs were a little tighter and a little longer over the weekend or that I told them I loved them about about 30 times each day instead of the usual 10 or that I was perhaps a little more patient than usual. I suspect it was a regular weekend for them, which is just how it should be.
I was not born in America – I chose to live here. And, when I moved here, I knew that the gun issue was going to be a hurdle for me to overcome because, when you choose to live in another country you accept that the rules and customs of that country are part of the deal.
But things have changed.
My children and husband were born here and it’s my responsibility to fight for what I think is the best thing for my family and for the country that we have chosen as our home. I don’t have to accept the current gun laws as part of the deal anymore. As I posted on Facebook on Friday, a person’s right to own a gun does not override any child’s right to feel safe. It’s that simple. I’m going to see what part I can play, however small, to change things.
In the meantime I’m going to move forward, celebrate christmas, spend time with my family and pretend that nothing happened because, as far as my children are concerned, the only thing they need to fear right now is the naughty list.