Tuesday, December 18, 2012

do something

Friday mid-morning, the news out of Newtown started to trickle across my orbit. Admittedly, at first I just blocked it out. The news outlets are so reactionary, I just hoped they were making a mountain out of a molehill. (I knew better.) Honestly, after the mall shooting last week, it just seemed like too much for my brain to deal with in that moment. I pushed the news monster out of my brain, shut the door, and sat down in front of it.

I went to a lunch meeting, and came back to my facebook feed flooding with post after post of shock, confusion, and condolences for Newtown. I had missed so much in those 3 hours. I quickly was brought up to speed, and my first reaction was drive the 40 minutes to my babies and scoop them up.

One of my favorite quotes about parenthood says "Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." (Elizabeth Stone)

Truer words have never been spoken. I was aching for my boys, yet my brain new there was no reason for me to react in this manner. They were right where they needed to be, and so was I.


I've never been so affected by a tragedy as I have been by this one. It's likely because I'm a mom now, and my kids are so little. I couldn't help but wake up misty-eyed on Saturday, just to have my kids in my house, all twenty toes wiggling and accounted for. There were (and are) 20 families who will never know that peace again. 


I didn't watch the news at all Friday night or this weekend. I couldn't handle it. They had a news conference on Saturday morning that was blaring on the tv when we first turned it on. We couldn't find the remote. I was searching like a madwoman for the remote so I could change the channel to Jake and the Neverland Pirates or something equally mindless. I said "Joey, we have to find the remote, I can't take listening to this any more!" Finally I just shut the thing off.


Finally Monday morning, I was ready to know their names. The littles who lost their sweet, innocent lives. I didn't want to know his name, and I still don't know his last name. I have this displacement theory in my brain, that if I can fill it with sweetness about these peanuts, there's no room for evil. I only want to know as much as their families are willing to share. I'm praying the information and photos I see of them are given with permission. I think I read once, in a different situation, that it helped a grieving family to say their child's name. I want to give these names a face in my brain, to send silent thoughts to their parents that they did matter. Also, their teachers and administrators. Heros.


I'm angry about this. I don't understand all of the whys and hows. I don't know what specifically needs to be done to stop this from happening again. I think it's a combination of a lot of things. Better control on weapons (yes, I know a moving car can be turned into a weapon, but there's no reason citizens need assault rifles); better support for mental health (MUCH BETTER SUPPORT FOR MENTAL HEALTH), including support for the families of those who are ill; more compassion from society (let's stop hating on each other, we're all in this together). 


This isn't about politics. I grew up with guns in my home. Nearly all of my family and many, many of my friends are hunters. This isn't about animals. This is about the safety of my kids, and my friends' kids, and the kids who lost their lives last Friday. Again, I'm not a weapons expert, I'm not a psychologist, I'm just a mom. A mom who is sick to death of seeing this happen again and again. We can disagree on the minutia of what needs to be done - I'm ok with that. All I want is for the conversation to continue. I don't want this to fade into the darkness like it has so many other times. This is the tipping point, the status quo isn't working, and it's time to do something.


Many are circulating an idea of 26 acts of goodness. I love this idea, and truthfully have been a major slacker about sharing my time, talent, and treasure this year. Twenty six though? Is kind of overwhelming. There's no time limit, though, and you can make them as big or as small as you want to. Here's a few ideas to get you thinking, but I want to hear your ideas. Especially simple ideas - we can all come up with big ideas, but what are some small things?
  • Donate blood
  • Make a contribution to your favorite charity in the name of one of the innocents
  • Write your congresspeople - demand change, whatever that means to you
  • Smile at someone who really needs one
  • Pay for the order of the car behind you at the drive thru
  • Fill a backpack with necessities for a homeless person (blanket, socks, flashlight, etc.) and give it away
  • Donate a meal to the food bank
  • Volunteer - anywhere
  • Read - especially if you're not a reader. Research. Find solutions.
  • Tell someone you love them

Wherever you fall on this situation, please, do something. I have to believe that we're all in this for some common good. Our futures - and those of the kids looking up to us - are riding on this.

1 comment:

Thanks for leaving some love!