Tuesday, November 24, 2015

hard conversations

The other morning at breakfast Anna and I were reviewing safety drills: what to do if there is a fire, an earthquake, a gun.

I had a stomach ache the whole time we were talking and she was crawling around on her knees, looking for a safe spot to wait out the imaginary earthquake. My anxiety is bad enough. I don't need help imagining all the horrific things that could happen to our daughters. I hate these conversations. I hate this reality.

Later that day I faced another not-so-fun conversation as Anna headed off to a new friend's house for a playdate: the ever-awkward 'do you have a gun in your house' talk. It's great preschool drop-off chit chat. 'Is your daughter feeling better? Nice to have a break from the rain, isn't it?  Do you have a (unsecured) gun in the house?'

It's not my favorite conversation. I'd really rather skip it.

But I didn't skip it. And the other mom thanked me for it. She's new to this country and she's terrified of the guns, too. She was glad to know that others asked. She wants to ask. These hard conversations may be the least we can do but at least they are something we can do.

This all makes me so mad. I hate that we have to have these conversations. I'm furious this is our reality. And I'm so very, very angry at my inability to do anything about it. It's bad enough that the earth beneath us could start shaking at any moment and literally bring everything around us crumbling to the ground. But guns? Terrorists? Violence? She's going to Kindergarten next year and there she will learn what to do if someone comes into her classroom and starts shooting. They have to teach that now, just like stop, drop and roll. And she has to learn it because, oh God, because.

I don't know how to keep her safe. I can't keep her safe. It's the most unfair and horrible part of parenting. It's enough to paralyze me. I don't know what to do other than have the hard conversations.

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