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All This Fear

These horrific bombings and shootings make me not want to leave my house. They make me want to home-school our babes and spend 24 hours a day campaigning for gun control and build a bunker and forbid them from leaving the premises. Ever.

But alas, this is sort of irrational and entirely unrealistic. (Because where am I going to find a contractor who can build a bunker?)

There are things I wouldn’t have necessarily noticed before I had kids, when it was just my husband and me. When I didn’t have dependents. For instance: It seemed to be Terrorist Day at the mall today – everyone looked vaguely suspicious, and all were carrying backpacks. Lots and lots of backpacks.

When I was “merely” a married woman and mother of two canines, I might not have even noticed the backpacks, and certainly wasn’t as concerned about my well-being. If I was tragically killed then, my husband would eventually move on – after much intense grieving, of course – and my dogs would be okay with his new wife, provided she wasn’t a cat person. (The beagle would always hold a candle for me though.)

Now, with kids, I don’t even eat anything with BUTTER in it, I’m so terrified I won’t be around to watch them grow up. That’s the first part of the fear: that something will happen to me. The second part of the fear is worse: that something will happen to them. My nightmares are full of catastrophic images too tragic to describe. And every single day I think about the parents in Newtown, CT who lost their 5 and 6 year olds. I can’t even fathom their grief.

Though it may seem like I complain about my kids a fair amount, in fact I live for them. They are sweetness and light. Just leaving them for an evening out and I’m a basket case. I make my husband drive away slow as I wave at the living room windows like a maniac from the passenger seat. The younger one cries, the older one (who, I think, has already learned to play me like a fiddle) gets very serious right before I leave, then puts her hands on my cheeks and kisses me on the lips. Suddenly she’s a character in the Godfather.

I shake off the scary thoughts as often as I can, as I know that none of us will benefit from a fearful, over-protective life. But sometimes, like when the evening news is on, it’s tough to imagine them out there in the wide world.

There’s the saying that goes: ‘The hardest thing about parenting is you have to give them both roots and wings.’ I’m okay with the former, doing a darn good job at it so far, if I don’t say so myself. The latter? Not so much.

Too soon to start pushing for in-state colleges?

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