Today, I’ve got nothing. Nothing but grief from the devastation of the shooting that took place at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas yesterday. Nothing but a heavy heart for the families that will never be the same. The siblings who won’t understand why their brother or their sister is gone. The community that must begin its journey of healing. The empty rooms and empty beds that were waiting for those children to return home. The hallways and classrooms that will forever reek of such a tragedy. My heart is aching for those whose lives will forever suffer the traumatic memories of what took place on this day.
I feel extremely heavy. Extremely privileged that as I type these words, my child is just an arm's reach away. And I am extremely anxiety-ridden by the idea that no matter how much I try to protect him, no matter how much I try to shield him from harm, his safety is never truly guaranteed.
As a mom, it scares me. That this is the world we are raising our children in. A world where we have to remain on edge. A world where we have to talk to our kids about things like school shootings and war and hope that we are not stripping them of their childlike innocence when we have these sad—yet necessary—conversations.
It’s heartbreaking. I can't even begin to wrap my head around how their little minds process these kinds of things. We try to teach them to see the good in others, to see the joy in life... but how in times like these? Where, in the blink of an eye, so many horrific things are happening in the world around us. When does it end?
Our babies should not have to fear for their lives in their places of education.
We send our kids to school and expect their safety, yet it is not guaranteed. We send them out into the world, hopeful that we have taught them how to fend for themselves. But the harsh reality is this: The world is full of cruelty and there is no assurance that our children will always be safe from harm, especially when they are absent from our presence.
And that reality is heavy. It's unsettling. In so many ways, it's unfair. That a parent can drop their child off at school, not knowing that it will be their last moment together. That someone with a deeply troubled mind can be compelled and able to make his way into an elementary school and take the lives of innocent people—of innocent babies.
Mass shootings are not something that we should have to become accustomed to. Our babies should not have to fear for their lives in their places of education, in the social settings that are meant to build them as individuals. The only things they should be worried about at this age are science projects, sleepovers and book fairs. Instead, their childhoods are being stripped away.
Our children don't get the experience of a childhood without fear, and as a mother, that realization burdens me. Because I remember how freely I could roam around as a child. Riding bikes with the neighborhood kids after dinner. Staying after school for cheer practice. Playing outside until the streetlights came on. And now, my child cannot experience this freedom without the fear of something horrible happening. Without the fear that his last moment may be spent doing something that should have been completely harmless. And my heart aches because of this.
The weight of our children's innocence is upon us as a society, and sadly... we are failing them.
This needs to stop. The world needs to change.
Parents everywhere—now more than ever—are feeling the grief of a world that does not provide solace for our children. Of a world that fails to provide a protective barrier for our babies. And it's excruciating. That we have to choose between sheltering our kids and depriving them of experiencing a life of fullness or exposing them to the world and every danger that comes with it.
When will it be enough? What are we doing?
Families are in mourning. And right now, I mourn with them. Because enough is enough. This should not have happened.
To every person feeling the grief of what took place in Uvalde yesterday, I know the weight of this is too much to bear, but you don't have to carry it alone. Please reach out for help if you need it. If you are privileged to, hug your babies a little longer today. Send support out to any parent that you know. Some of them had to send their babies to school today. Some of them kept their babies home out of debilitating fear for their safety. Some of them have considered homeschooling and are dealing with the anxieties of taking or sending their children out into the world.
And if you do nothing else today, send a prayer for the families who lost a loved one as a result of yesterday's tragedy. And keep this world in your thoughts. Because this needs to stop. The world needs to change.