In the United States, in Maine, where our children can go outside and play freely, where we have the space and patience to stand in a spot long enough for a chickadee to land on our hands for a snack, there is very little fear for tragedy. The difficulty in parenting is balancing that ideal with the reality of a bigger picture, including bad people who do bad things.
When a horrible thing happens in the world, several questions pop into my head, invading the fluidity of a regular worry-free day, and causing truly sleepless nights.
What kind of person am I to have brought children into this awful world? How am I going to help these girls grow up and steer clear of this madness? What are the things I can do to continue to make them feel safe and yet make sure they understand how to protect themselves in every situation-- I mean, Every situation. My mind goes nuts thinking about all of the ungodly things that could happen. And then I think about what they are learning in their first years of school. The basics. Be kind to each other. Don't dwell on the little things. Help someone when you can. Watch where you're going. Take risks, but don't hurt anyone, including yourself. Remember that everyone has a story. Trust the adults in your life. Stranger danger. Ask questions. Keep going. These are the things I ought to be focusing on too. And hugs. More hugs. Appreciate the simple things.