Tuesday, September 18, 2012

{For music, scroll down.  Click 'Go to Playlist.  And hit 'Play All.'}
I get it.
No matter how much we'll do as parents, 
sacrifice at the expense of our children's health and happiness,
there's only so much we can do to protect them.
It sucks, to put it lamely.
Despite every baby gate, belt buckle, flu shot, swipe of sunscreen to protect their sweet little faces, 
we won't be able to safeguard them from everything.
I get it now. 
I love those brief moments where the mini-van doors click shut behind me, the kids in their seats, 
and all is right with the world for a few moments.
Everyone is in, strapped down and protected within the confines of their car seats.  
For just a moment, I feel in control.
I FEEL like we're safe.
They ARE safe from the outside world. . .for those brief moments.
But from there on out, as we pull away from the curb,
their guaranteed safety is an illusion.
And I know that.  
Regardless, I breathe in that sacred space for 3.2 seconds a few times a day,
before we move on.
But the unmistakable truth, that while raising children,
we will bear witness to our kids' suffering, pain, heartache and disappointment,
is inevitable.
And it just sucks.
That we WILL, as parents, be introduced to fears, injuries and ailments, we may have never thought possible, is a given.
So we do our best to put our future fears aside and live in the moment.
I'm slowly watching the innocence of my all-too-wise-and-aware 8-year-old, start to dwindle.
I obsess a lot about the PHYSICAL and intellectual issues that might challenge my children but hadn't given much thought to the EMOTIONAL struggles that would enter the innocent little minds each year, 
as they grow and wrap their heads around new ideas, people, the world they live in.
Jack was playing a game with my husband before bed the other night, 
the evening news on in the background, 
talking about Obama, the upcoming election, ahem. . .abortion.
I'm not trying to start a political debate here.
That's what was on.
But Jack heard the word 'abortion.'
Swiftly followed by . . ."killing babies. . .partial birth abortions. . ."
My husband scrambled to find the remote to change the channel, 
knowing FULL well this was not a topic an 8-year-old was ready to discuss.
Too late.
"What?!?!  What did they just say dad???  Killing babies?  Who kills babies?  What's abortion???"
Football was on by this point.  Their chess game set aside, interrupted by this bomb of new information.
"Ah. . .well," my husband replied, hesitantly.
(We're at that stage, where if they ASK, we'll give them the facts.  And try to keep it simple.)
But how do you keep the topic of abortion simple? 
How do you explain it to an 8-year-old kid, who has otherwise, heard NOTHING on the topic???
My husband explained the best he could.
Jack sat paralyzed over his chess game.
I can only imagine was his little brain was trying to calculate and understand. 
Not just that THIS HAPPENS,
but that it happens in the same innocent world he's been residing in for 8 years.
Where guns and killing and wars happen on shows and video games he's not allowed to watch.  Killing babies?  Unfathomable.
My husband said he tried hard to fight back tears.  
A small snippet of a conversation on the news, 
tossing a big fat boulder at the lens of his little rose-colored glasses.
Brian tried to move on from it, keep playing, distract him.
"Dad?  I don't want to play anymore," he said through tears.  
Running to his room crying, devastated by what he'd just learned.
I met him in his room, briefed on what had just occurred.
"SHIT."  I thought to myself.  
My God, you just don't know.  Tucking the other two into bed, 
that I'd be met with such a whopper at 8-o'clock on a Tuesday night.
"Honey.  What's wrong?"  I asked, as I sat tiptoed in to his room and sat quietly at his bedside, tucking long, wispy blond hairs from his tear-stained cheek.
"MOM!  he said angrily, sobbing under his comforter.  "I DON'T UNDERSTAND!!!  WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT TO KILL A BABY?!?!  WHY WOULD ANYONE DO THAT?!?!  I DON'T GET IT?!?!"
I had to fight back my own tears.
How could I answer this?  I don't even know why?!
Although I am aware of the 'reasons' WHY women do it, I too, don't understand HOW they could.
How do I answer this question in a 'safe' and harmless way?
"Honey?  I don't know.  I don't know why.  But it happens.  And I agree.  It's horrible to think about."
"WELL IF THEY DIDN'T WANT A BABY, WHY WOULD THEY HAVE ONE TO BEGIN WITH?!?!  (He knows how the whole 'baby-making' thing works now.)
"I don't know, Jack.  But you're right.  You have to know, if you have sex, you may get pregnant."
I didn't go any further than that.
And it didn't do much to comfort him.
So I tried to ease his mind that there are women out there, 
that although weren't ready for a baby, have it and give it up for adoption.  That those little babies get another chance.  That a wonderful, loving family, that maybe couldn't have babies, will adopt them and provide a good home for them.
That seemed to ease his mind a little.
But dear Lord.
There's so much more to this job.  
SO MUCH more.  
After answering the best I could, changing the subject, tucking him in to bed, I walked out of his room with an even GREATER realization of what the hefty burden of being a mom and raising children, really encompasses.
The full realization, that it is OUR JOB as parents,
not only to feed, bathe and keep safe our kids, 
but to help EDUCATE them about the world around them.
The people, the circumstances, the terrors. . .
put out or at least delay fires while they're manageable,
give them facts, teach and guide,
most importantly, give them the knowledge and the coping skills to accept the reality of our world, the stresses, fears and dangers to be found within it.
Of COURSE we will teach our children what WE believe to be right.
That is what we all naturally do, as parents.
Knowing full well, down the road, they'll come to their own conclusions and beliefs.
But doing our best to give them a solid foundation of core values and beliefs that are conducive to being good people, good citizens, giving, unselfish, compassionate, but strong, self-sufficent and independent.
Jack fell asleep that night.
I did not, of course.
But we wake up on all the sleep we can get, start again,
say a little prayer that we can give them all the tools they need
to face the world and the all that comes their way.



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