17 December, 2012

Safety, An Illusion

"When will you be back?"
"At 4."
I called at 4. I called just after 4. she wasn't there. Although I didn't worry; I did feel unsettled. I knew where she was really, right? I knew she wasn't alone. I knew a friend was near by which was actually the unexpected change that had me trying to reach her at home.
It was the friend that called and explained that she was now waiting and where my daughter was; It wasn't until later that I talked with my child, who was completely unaware of why Friday I might have been feeling a little more parently aware than on any other day. She was out having fun and had no means of knowing the time.
I loved being pregnant because I could keep her with me at all times. I felt like I was keeping her safe. An illusion, I know, but I had a greater degree of perceived control pregnant than I feel I have now.
I tell new parents to prepare themselves as they will now spend each day, for the rest of their lives, learning to let go; learning to let their kids travel their own paths.
At some point, parents all learn to do that. We do it at different times and in different ways.
As an "on my own parent" I had to learn to relinquish some control immediately.  I learned to consider parenting as a part of the team that would care for my daughter. Other team members change as she grows -
from daycare to teachers to coaches, we are a team giving her what she needs and each is responsible for her safety..
I really never consider that her safety was in question. Friday afternoon, I heard about the situation in CT and felt a pang, not only for those children and their parents, but for all of us who send our kids into the world believing that they are safe. They are kids, of course, they are safe. They are at school where things can
hurt, but they are safe from...
The shootings in CT have left a sour taste in my mouth and a hurt in my heart. I have never understood crimes against children of any sort; while I have studied other aspects of criminal behavior, I can't claim to fully understand it either. It is one thing to have motives, but to understand why an action is taken?
While I sat at work reading my computer screen, I wondered if the school was talking to the students and talking about how best to protect themselves in that situation.
I recognize that the next few weeks and months will have specialists and politicians considering and vying for different solutions or "fixes" to shooting incidents. I find myself wondering as to the social or systemic roots; the thought process that fixes on choosing to engage in such violence. What can we do to identify that process and minimize its happening?
Many people will find answers and propose legislation; but, will we be considering bandages or long term strategies to find and eliminate the root causes?
I, as of now, have no ideas. I feel numb; I feel the need to be aware of where my child is while still realizing that this awareness does not keep her safe. I feel, as many likely do, more aware of my helplessness..
I am reminded of the illusion of being able to protect my daughter when I was pregnant. There are many things I can do to give my daughter knowledge and choice; to ensure that she understands integrity and accountability; I can foster her ability to live passionately and to live with awareness of her surroundings. I can give her the information she needs to be safe - as safe as possible.
And I can continually love her - every day, I can do that.
Every moment of every day...
I can do that.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi TE .. great thoughtful post. Desperately sadly at times we cannot control events .. many of us feel as you do - the coldness surrounding the families in CT ... it's a desperate time for them. Enjoy having your child with you - but letting her have the freedom to soar ... sadly we do not know what is ahead ..

With thoughts and hugs - Hilary

BigLittleWolf said...

Those root causes. Exactly the dilemma - they are complex, they wriggle beneath the surface, they are elusive and inter-reactionary.

Identifying them and dealing with them has no simple solution and costs money in a culture that is unwilling to put health, including mental health, as well as education of our children as priorities.

So many sorrows. To be met with love, yes, but also - understanding the work to be done by all of us as communities, expressing our priorities and speaking up through our votes.

But the world feels changed again for many of us. Changed in the way of 11 years ago, if less discussed on the world stage - somehow - scarring our hearts in a similar fashion.