Friday, April 19, 2013

on being a mama when bad things happen

Andrew and I had been married just over a year when we went to Washington, DC. It was my first time and I was completely jazzed about it, so we packed as many touristy things into that long weekend as we could. I remember standing outside of the Capitol Building when we overheard a conversation between a man and his daughter, who was sitting on his shoulders. She wanted to know what the guards were carrying. "Guns," he said. She asked why. "To keep us safe." She asked why again. Andrew and I talked about how hard those conversations must be and how it's not fair that we have to have them with our kids. I never really shook it off.

This news from Boston and everywhere else in the world is wearing me down. I've turned off the TV and the radio and I'm trying to limit my time on the computer because it'll suffocate you. You'll take your kid to the park and start to wonder, "Am I safe out here in the open?" and that's just no way to live. So we turn it off and we keep on living.

But I can't help but want to gather him up and take him into hiding, not to protect him from it but to protect him from the idea of it. How do you talk to your kid about stuff like this? The bad things that happen because they just do and the bad things that happen because people are evil. It's everywhere, every day, and soon it'll be my kid on Andrew's shoulders asking us why. Deep down, I think that's the part of parenting I've always dreaded.

There's a Mr. Rogers quote that keeps popping up this week and I can't read it without tearing up. He said his mama told him that when bad things happen, always look for the helpers because they're everywhere. And they are. On the street comforting bombing victims they don't even know. Showing up to West, TX with trucks full of bottled of water and blankets in the middle of the night. Pushing a mama's groceries out to the car in the rain because she's got a crying baby with her.

That's what I want Jack to see. I want him to know that for every bad thing that happens, something good happens, too. We might have to look harder but it's there. And I want him to be the good. I want him to be a helper. I want him to always love first.

For now, I'm thankful that he's blissfully unaware. I'm thankful that we're safe and healthy when none of that is ever guaranteed. I'm thankful that he ran up to me at the park this morning, put his hands on my face and kissed me - just because he felt like it. Then he ran off again in search of his next adventure.

And I hope whatever that is is always there.

4 friends said...:

  1. Eloquently said. I've been hearing that quote all week too and it's definitely inspirational in the hard and sometimes scary times we live in.

  2. He'll always be the helper, if he watches you being the helper.
    He'll always see the good, if you remind him of his blessings.
    Lots to look forward to.
    Love you both,

  3. love this, page! been trying to figure out how to put in words how this world is making me feel. i'm praying for sweet boys like ours to be the helpers and see the good. thanks for these words :)

  4. I'm not sure how I stumbled across your blog, but I'm certainly glad that I did. My husband has gone through a very similar pipeline as yours (except he was enlisted first, then went to Newport for NSI instead of OCS) and here we are. We were in Charleston before that where he was staff at prototype. Yaaa nukes. It's nice to connect with a military wife. I'm glad everything has worked out for you - you have a beautiful family!



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