Accidentally Seeing the News
I've been taking a break from the news lately because it's all the worst news I've ever seen in my life.
Yesterday, I was leaving the hospital where my sister-in-law had just had surgery. Waiting for the elevator, I looked up at the TV and saw that in Uvalde, Texas, an 18-year old male entered an elementary school and shot multiple people.
As of now, 19 children and 3 adults have lost their lives—including the shooter. Two police officers were also shot but are expected to survive.
That evening we had a thunderstorm. I told my husband that the rain was Heaven crying.
A Range of Emotions
I was about to get my daughter from daycare so I knew I couldn't process my feelings at that time. So, as I've done throughout my life, I pushed my emotions deep down and thought about something else.
After I got home, I checked the news to see what had happened to the shooter. As I was reading, I couldn't hold in my emotions any longer and started sobbing.
My husband happened to come in and when he saw what was happening, he politely asked me to close out the news app. I did.
He started snuggling me as I cried and said things like:
Why would someone do that?
Those children didn't do anything!
How can anyone expect me to send our 9-year-old daughter to school? Or go to the store with her? Or get her a haircut?
I wrestled with multiple emotions—sadness over the loss of young children; anger that someone would murder innocent kids; fear of letting our child out of the house for anything.
The storm suited the evening perfectly. Darkness surrounded us. Rain represented my tears. Thunder symbolized the anger I feel. And lightning was fear—like how we try to shine light in the dark when we're scared.
My first instinct is to pull our daughter from school and never let her step outside of the house again. But playing out that scenario in my head, I know she would be miserable, full of fear, have no friends, and grow up resenting me for not letting her enjoy life.
My only choice is to focus on what I can control. So what are those things?
I'll continue to be a fairly overprotective parent (which is better than risking the unforgivable regret I'd feel if something bad and preventable ever happened).
I'll teach my daughter how to look for danger in the world.
We'll role play and practice what she should do in certain situations.
When appropriate, I'll make sure she has her phone with her and charged.
And as a woman of faith, I will continue to pray daily for God to protect her from dangerous people, places, and things.
The challenge is that in the past, when we've reviewed safety rules and danger code words, her anxiety heightens and she tells me I'm stressing her out. I want to preserve some of her childhood innocence and naïveté, but keeping her safe has to eclipse that desire.
Today I will remember...
I can't keep my child in a bubble or protect her from everything, but I will do everything I can to keep her safe.