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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Where has my happy place gone?

About 15 years ago, when I first started thinking about having children, Mom said to me "You don't need to have kids. The world has gone crazy and it's not a good place to raise kids anymore." And I used to roll my eyes at her, and say things along the line of not living life in fear and the only way to make the world a better place is to raise children to be good people. Of course, that was all before I had children.

I've been thinking about this horrific shooting in Aurora, CO, and what keeps exploding in my head is...what would I have done? What would I have done if I had been in a movie theater with my children when a man threw out canisters of tear gas and opened fire into the theater? Would I have frozen in fear? Would I have pulled my children down to the floor and huddled over them while I pleaded to God to make me enough of a human shield to protect them from the bullets flying through the air? Would I have tried to get them to an exit while this man was shooting innocent people like fish in a barrel?

Every time I leave the house with my children, I take my ridiculously large diaper bag full of everything I can possibly think of that I might need. Diapers, wipes, bottles and formula, changes of clothes, bibs and cutlery for little hands. But what do you put in a diaper bag that could protect your children from a bullet? What kind of contingency plan can you carry with you everywhere? We strap them into carseats to protect them from injuries in an accident. We put helmets on their heads and padding on their little limbs to keep them safe on bikes and when they're playing sports. But what in God's name can you do to protect them from someone who has no regard for their innocent life?

I honestly struggle everyday, trying to wrap my brain around the world we live in and trying to figure out how best to protect my children from it. Should I build a house in the middle of nowhere and hope that some lunatic never happens upon our little sanctuary? Is there anywhere left in the world that hasn't become a place that has to be survived? I love my children. And I wouldn't change the fact that they are here for anything in the world. But honestly, I know now why Mom was always telling me that I shouldn't have children. Because she was like me, always worrying, afraid that some horrible thing that she had seen on the news might one day befall one of her own children.

I guess all I can do is love them. Wrap my arms around them and tell them I love them every chance I get. While I would like nothing more than to hide them away from the world and from anyone who might hurt them, I guess it's simply not possible. What kind of life would they have if I never let them out of the house? If they were never allowed to make friends and explore their surroundings and do simple things like go to the movies, how happy would they be? So what do we, as parents and as a society, do to protect our children?

3 comments:

Nancy L. Janssen said...

It's a sad and scary time in our country, Jennifer. I'm happy to see you back and would like to congratulate you on your new babe, as well as extending my sympathies on your loss. You have certainly had a rollercoaster of a year! Hope to see more from you...

Nancy L. Janssen said...

I nominated you for an award. Check out my blog for details :)

Jennifer said...

Oh my goodness, Nancy! I've been such a bad blogger lately that I just saw that I had two comments from you waiting moderation! Thanks for the nomination! What an honor!

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