Fear. 4 little letters but such an incredibly powerful thing. The unthinkable happened recently in CT. I cannot, at all, wrap my head around it still. Mental illness is no stranger to me as any of you who knew my father can attest to. However, I cannot wrap my head around the lives of innocent children being taken.
I've read a lot on the subject since it happened and the one thing I could understand is one mom who said it's because we know what 6 and 7 looks like. As moms, we know how completely innocent 6 and 7 year olds are and we know what they do, think about, dream about, etc. every day. It hits closer to home than other tragedies, not to say any one is more tragic than the other, it's just easier for us to relate to. Here's the thing though, I don't want it to be easier to relate to. I don't want to think about children dying in such a horrible way in a place where they should be safe. I've taught first grade. I know what a first grade classroom looks like. I know the books they were probably reading and where they were in math. I know that the biggest concern they had before that day was who they were going to play with at recess and whether or not their teacher would allow sweets at the holiday party. I don't want to think about that classroom filled with little bodies riddled with bullet holes. I know that sounds selfish but it's just too much.
In my head I can go to a place where it's me, I'm a teacher in that school. Would I have been able to keep my cool? Would I have been so self less? I struggle with thinking I would do whatever it takes to protect the children in my care but what about my own children? Who's protecting them? Sigh......would I sacrifice myself for someone else's children and leave my own children alone? I can't imagine being put in that situation.
Since the shooting I've been on edge. How can I feel good about sending my kids to school each day? How can I avoid thinking about what could happen while they are there? There it is again, FEAR.
I've chosen, and I didn't say it's the best choice, to put it behind me. Every day there are so many things we should be afraid of; car accidents, fires, burglaries, shootings and those are just the big ones. I can't and I won't live my life in constant fear. What happened in CT was so completely random and unlikely to happen to my children that I have to push through my fear and put on my happy face as I send them off on the bus. I can't let the fear win.
I listen to my mommy gut and make decisions based on how I feel about things and my mommy gut says they are going to be OK. If there comes a day when my gut says to keep them home, I will, believe me.
As a mom there are so many things we worry about for our kids. I can't even count the number of nights I've lost sleep worrying about them. Right now Little Guy is up in Grammy's bed with a fever and I worry it'll turn into something more, that he will be in pain, that he will be sick at Christmas. See? We already have so much to worry about that there are things we need to let go.
I will never forget what happened in Newtown and I will never forget the little faces I've seen on the news. I will always remember the parents who lost their children. I will be vigilant and advocate for safer schools but I will not let it stop me from living my life and letting my kids live theirs. I can't, what kind of life would that be?