I keep getting waves of guilt washing over me. Panic knocking me over like a tidal wave; despite my white knuckle grip on life I am falling….
I feel like a mama hen desperately trying to keep her little innocent fluffy babes safe from harms way as they happily frolic to and fro without a care in the world. But I am drenched with worry, wings outspread trying desperately to reach them, grab them and keep them underfoot.
But my babies are growing. My babies are learning. My babies are getting bigger and hearing things, seeing things… they are stepping out into this world and one day…
…they will know the truth.
The first time I remember the panic truly setting in was the Connecticut shooting. Images of scared bloody children flashed in my head as I tried desperately to go about my usual routine with my three beloved darlings. I tried to treasure them in that moment so much more, I tried to love them more, hug them an extra time or two, give them another kiss… because my heart was crying out to me; reminding me of those mothers who in that moment had nothing left of their baby but the memories. While I was angered by the fighting, screaming and crying… I was reminded that miles away there were mothers that would give anything to hear their child cry again. I was challenged to embrace my children in a new light and try my best to honor those beautiful little lives that were lost that horrible day.
But there is a thorn in my side, a rock in my shoe… the horrible stench of guilt.
I hid the truth from my children.
Granted, my girls (especially Peytne) are probably too young for the horrific reality that ‘bad people’ truly do exist and could hurt you, take you, or kill you…and anyone you love. I instantly cover them with my wings of love and try to protect them from hearing the harsh reality that Daddy cant protect them from everything, that God will be with them but that doesnt mean they will have a life free from pain…
I have no words to describe the spine tingling fear that creeps through my
body at the thought of having to answer their brutally honest questions, having to wipe their worried tears but having no words to make it better. Sure, there are those that say in every tragedy look to those running in… but when you let the emotion of that horrific reality hit you, All the heroes and good samaritans in the world can’t heal the brokenness your heart feels in that moment. Sure the images and stories of hope and heroism can ease the pain over time, but there will always be questions unanswered and wounds still bleeding. My heart is heavy at the thought that one day… one day soon, my babies will see the world for what it really is.
I was glad when my kids skipped the last two days of school before the Connecticut shooting. It was a coincidence, but when I heard the Principal walked around through the classes and talked to the kids about what was happening, I cried. I sat on my mother in laws couch while we were on vacation, supposed to be enjoying our vacation and family time with my jaw clenched and my hands shaking uncontrollably while I read the email from the school titled “From the Principals Corner”. I understood what they were trying to do, sure it’s okay for other kids to know about what was going on… but mine?? No, MY kids were not ready.
I looked over at them: Kaelob enthralled by the video game he was playing, and surrounded by little hot wheel cars and dinosaurs that he would occasionally talk to as if he were expecting them to respond, and maybe he really thinks they do. The girls happily dressing up dolls and setting up a beautiful doll house, giggling together as they used sweet little voices for each of the characters… Their world is safe. Their world is happy and peaceful….the mama bear in me has been fighting for so long now to keep their world that way.
My reality is facing the truth that one day They will know the truth of masked murderers, suicide bombers, terrorists, serial killers, drunk drivers…on that day the beautiful twinkling diamonds of pure innocent joy will be clouded by the darkness of our sinful world. I am scrambling with panic because although I managed to avoid any images or stories from Connecticut getting to them, I can not be with them at all times. Their peers are hearing things and talking about things… I know the day is coming, and for Kaelob especially, that day is coming soon.
Earlier today before the shooting Kaelob said quietly, “Mommy, I wouldn’t want to live in Egypt because they hit their children and people with long wips and hurt them… Or New York either because there are mean men that like to scare little kids.” … Now before this afternoon I would have laughed and posted this as a funny Facebook status, but instead this admition made me cry. Kaelob’s reality is one of children’s movies… where there is always a happy ending and no one really gets hurt. He thinks what he saw on the animated movie Prince of Egypt is what really happens in Egypt. He thinks what he saw on Home Alone is what really happens in New York. My sweet sweet innocent boy… I see how he is filled with anger when a character in a movie is mean or a ‘bully’, he immediately jumps off the couch and swings an imaginary weapon (or actually goes to grab a nerf gun or wooden sword) and actively defends their honor through the tv screen. In HIS world he is helping, he is making a difference, he is a hero and everyone is happy in the end.
God forbid I sit down and watch the news with him and he realizes that there are bombs and shootings and diseases and evil evil things out there that no wooden sword or magic spell can fix.
So, I dont.
When the FBI standoff happened in Big Bear I couldn’t help myself and was listening to the play by play on the radio while driving with them in the car. I narrowly skirted my way around some heavy hearted questions from both Kaelob and Haylee. I couldnt bring myself to sit down and explain to them that this man got angry and decided to run around and shoot people and then managed to dissappear and now the police were gunning him down… I swallowed down my guilt of omisson like a big ball of stomach acid and went on with our life as the ashes of that catastrophe settled.
And then we come to today’s massacre… the kids were happily seated at the table eating the home cooked spagetti with ground turkey mushrooms and bell pepper that I lovingly made for them ispite of bouts of crying and utter panic. In between occassional singing, bickering and wiping spaghetti sauce from sweet little faces I saw images of bleeding, crying innocent victims from the marathon flashing through my head. My brother came up for dinner and casually mentioned something about whether or not I had heard about “the bombing in Boston”.
“Bombs?!” Kaelob exclaimed…
I had no answer. I just stared at him and as my heart sank deeper and deeper in my chest words faded far from my train of thought. He stared at me a moment, looked down at his food and went back to eating. I survived… I escaped that one and I was still alive! The sudden wave of relief I felt quickly turned into a tidal wave of guilt knocking me into a tailspin resulting in uncontrollable tears and panic.
I can not protect them forever. I shouldnt keep them from learning the truth, in fact I know they will be better prepared for survival in this world if they do, but I fear I am not strong enough to give them the answers they need. Because I am too scared to answer them, because I am too heartbroken to look them in the eyes and share with them the brutal truth of this world… I have hidden them and sheltered them and fooled myself into thinking I was protecting them.
I keep fluffing my feathers and spreading my wings farther and farther… but I am loosing my grip and I know in my heart the day is fast approaching….The day for truth.