Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Choosing happiness over fear: A pep talk to myself

With a heavy heart, I find myself pondering how we’re supposed to keep our children safe. Again. Didn’t our country just experience a tragedy? How much pain and loss do American families – especially New England families – have to endure?

I try to remember that the good in this world drastically outweighs the evil. But it only takes one evil heart to cause so much suffering. I try to remember that the darkness makes us appreciate the light and makes it brighter in contrast. But the darkness feels so thick sometimes, it’s hard to see the light peeking through. I try. But.

Once again, I am relieved that my son is too young to know what’s going on. I can be a coward for a little bit longer, and I don’t have to explain anything right now.

After today’s events, so quickly after the Sandy Hook killings, I want to stop time. Not permanently – just for a little while, just so I can think. Time is moving too fast, too many bad things happen, and I feel like I need a plan before another bad thing happens. My heart races, my head spins. I look at Quinn’s face, so innocent and trusting, and I see him depending on me to protect him from things he doesn’t even know exist. And I realize I don’t know how to do that. There is no such plan.

I’m starting to research preschools for next fall, but now I can’t bear the thought of Quinn being out of my sight, even just for two half-days a week. How can I trust anyone else to keep him safe? But then, what makes me think I’m any more capable?

It would be so easy for me to get panicky and irrational and live in fear, but I know that’s not how I want to raise my son. We can’t protect those we love at all times. It’s just not within our power. So I will choose to help Q see the good and light in the world, to help him be the good and the light. One cannot live in happiness and in fear.

By choosing happiness, we’re not minimizing or ignoring tragedy. We still grieve and offer comfort to one another. But by choosing not to live in fear, we take some power away from the evil. We don’t let it win. We choose not let our hope fizzle, our laughter die or our inner peace shatter. We focus our attention on the light and role model that focus for our little ones.

Last night, I held Quinn in my arms and rocked him all the way to sleep. With his head on my shoulder, his breath became slow and heavy. He snored softly, clutching his Lovey Dog in one hand and the sleeve of my shirt in the other. His contentment soothed my heavy heart, and I wondered who was really comforting who in that moment.