I will not be listening to the morning news while driving the kids to school for the next few years. I learned this today the hard way. The 24-hour news channel is my default radio station in the car as driving anywhere is the only time I can catch up on what’s happening around me. The mornings are particularly well suited for this — the news is fresh, my mind hasn’t melted into a jumble of mommy-brained, chore-listing thoughts yet and I can hold a conversation should someone ask, “did you hear…?”.
We had managed to shield our kids from the Newtown tragedy a few weeks ago feeling that they were still too young to associate school with death. We did not want the joyful exuberance they connect with going to school to foster any kind of fear at the beginning of a lengthy and hopefully happy school life.
Today wasn’t so lucky. Usually the kids are so engrossed in chatting with each other in the backseat that I, let alone they, can hardly hear the radio. They were a bit sluggish this morning and were both quiet on the ride to school. This should’ve been my cue to either chatter with them myself or atleast turn the radio off. I did neither. Instead we all listened to the reporter mention the re-opening of the Colorado theater where so many people were shot and killed by a maniac a couple months ago. Sadly, he also mentioned a 27-year-old who treated his friends to a movie on his birthday and received death as a favor. 😦 Hard as that is to fathom, my heart broke when my 6yo said, “mama, that guy was really unlucky, no? He got killed on his birthday! I hope I don’t die on the most special day of my life. But, you know, at least he was 27, I’m only 6.”
How do you handle that? Do the parenting books give you tips on how to convince your young child that his birthday will likely not be his last? How do you still your heart that suddenly beats violently at the very thought that it is indeed possible? How do you rail against a world that harbors so much evil beyond your control? How do you live knowing that in a world where kids die every day for no reason at all, your own are never truly safe and you can do zilch about it?
My spirit is dark and my heart is heavy this day.