Finding the funny in parenthood before somebody loses an eye...



Monday, December 17, 2012

Every Parent's Worst Nightmare


This morning I walked my kids into school.  I usually just drop them off in car line - sometimes as far back as a whole block.  Almost always because I'm still in my pajamas, but mostly because I assume they'll be fine.

But I didn't assume that today.  And I don't think my kids did either as they saw several police cars parked out side their school.  Just sitting there.  A reminder.  And a warning.

The term “every parent’s worst nightmare” is overused and has lost its impact.  We use it when our kids get lice or when the third person in our house has gotten the flu.  Irritations.  But not nightmares.  But when something as tragic as the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting  happens – something that truly is ‘every parent’s worst nightmare’ – I need the words to express how deeply horrified I am.   “Every parents worst nightmare” is exactly how I feel right now.

Twenty children have been gunned down intentionally by a deranged, demented maniac.  Taking the most beloved part of these families away along with any peace of mind for our children's safety any parent in this country might have.  And we can't even find justice in cruelly pulling him apart like a daddy long legged spider.  He took that away from us too.  

How could this happen?!  Why did this happen?!  Parents’ heads are reeling right now wondering, “Are my children safe anywhere anymore?”

I was out running errands on Friday when I ran into another mom - the mother of a 21 month old boy.  Her son goes to daycare and isn’t in school yet, but her parents were living in Colorado at the time of Columbine shooting and it all felt familiar.  As the news of Columbine started to break nationally, she called her parents to ask “What’s going on?”  Her mother said “The police won’t go in.  The shooter is still in the building.”  But Dunn heard another person speaking in the background say, “The mothers would go in.”  At the time she didn’t full understand that statement but now as a mother she does.  Dunn said “I would go in.  I would be a superhero for my child.”

I knew exactly what she meant.

There is only one thing that is more tragic than this carnage of innocence – the fact that reading about mass shootings is becoming all too common.   Every day news of fresh horror is delivered to our inboxes. 

People – parents or not - are scared.  You can’t go to the movies, you can’t go to malls, and now you can’t go to school without the possibility of harm?  The potential for tragedy is becoming too real.  

When will it stop?  How can we keep our children safe?!

People want justice. 

But there is no justice.  Not even in the death of the killer.  And when there can be no justice it’s hard to find peace.  

When this sort of senseless tragedy occurs, the only way to deal with it is to try to make sense of it – hoping that if you can just find the reason it happened, you can ensure it won’t happen again. 

But everyone knows where it really went wrong.  It went wrong when a 24 year old man got a gun.

On her blog on Huffington Post Parents, Lisa Belkin debates White House spokesman, Jay Carney’s statement that “Now is not the time to talk about gun control.” She says, “This is all we should talk about right now.” I agree.  

Because this morning, as I watched my kids turn into the gate of the school and waved at them, they gave me a look like "Come on, Mom.  You're embarrassing me." I realized  this was probably the same image - the last image - those 20 sets of parents will ever have of their children.  And my heart just broke for those families.

There is no justice for them until we can make sure this doesn’t happen again.  Ever.  Until real gun control is instituted, I worry this could happen again.  That it could happen tomorrow in my town, in my school, to my children.

And that is truly every parent’s worst nightmare.



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