How Does One Parent In This America?

I debated even blogging about the recent mass shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas. If I wrote about every mass shooting that happens in this country it would become a daily exercise that isn’t healthy for my mental well-being or others. But how does one decide which mass shootings to write about and which to skip? It sounds crass even typing that sentence.

School shootings always hit closer to home. Every morning, without fail, I make sure that I take time to send my kids off to school with a proper goodbye. Even if we’ve had an argument I smother them with hugs, kisses and desperate “I love you’s.” Because unfortunately in America parents do not know when their school will become synonymous with mass murder. Parents don’t know if today will be the day where they are called to a community center to anxiously await the news on their children’s lives. Or if they’ll have to give DNA swabs to match with their dead children’s unrecognizable bodies blown apart by weaponry that no civilian needs to own.

Like Robb Elementary School, we’re approaching the final days of the school year. It’s a fun week full of ice cream parties, awards and anticipation for those sweet summer months. Today, as I have often had to do after yet another school shooting, is debate whether or not to send my kids into school because I fear a copycat incident happening. Do I deny my kids an ice cream social and, if so, what do I tell them? How do I explain to a 9 and 6 year old that school should be a place of learning, fun and most importantly safety…but it’s not. I can’t protect them. I can’t ‘guarantee their safety. And that’s not fair. I am their mother. I don’t know the balance between knowledge and fear in this situation. I can only hope that I didn’t make a mistake sending them to school today and that no one mentions the shooting in school. I know I can’t ignore the conversation forever. I just haven’t figured out how to have it yet.

How does one parent in this America? How do we fight on so many fronts without running out of steam?

Initially this blog post was just going to be a re-share of what I wrote on social media today, but clearly I had more to say. I’m going to leave you with what I wrote below and encourage you to take breaks from social media when you need to and, above all else, do not become apathetic. We need you in what will be a long, difficult fight.

It’s ok if this recent mass shooting is too much for you to handle. We aren’t meant to sustain this level of anger and grief again and again in endless cycles without change. It would be easy to become apathetic if just to protect your sanity.

Don’t become apathetic.

If screaming on social media takes too much out of you, take a break. Don’t fight with people looking to drain you of your incredible energy. The Republican Party wants us to rage and burn out and accept the same ol. They want to distract us with talk of mental health, border crossings, SRO’s, video games, anything to detract from the actual issue.

It’s ok to take breaks and conserve your energy for the fight at hand. I hope we see some massive leadership through, idk, walk-outs, protests, strikes, I don’t know but we need to think big.

In the meantime, look into local gun control organizations or Mom’s Demand chapters. See what gun laws are on the docket at the state level. Get in touch with your reps. Federal change is laborious, but we can take a page out of Republican’s playbook for Roe and chip away at bad gun legislation at the local level. That’s where change starts.

We have to find a way to sustain this fight when this latest shooting is no longer in the news in a way that doesn’t completely destroy our souls.

I’m not entirely sure HOW we do that, but we must.

My voting issue this Nov. is guns and choice. If a candidate doesn’t fit the bill, I will reach out and see if there’s any work that can be done, but if not, I’m not voting for them. Dem or Republican. Enough is enough.

-Meredith

2 thoughts on “How Does One Parent In This America?

  1. Wise as always. I think it is time to TELEVISE the HORROR of mass shootings. SHOW the American people what it looks like and maybe then they will be shaken from their complacency. What can people do now? VOTE and donate money to causes like Sandy Hook Promise.

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    1. I agree 100%. I think with permission from parents we need to release photos and let people see the true horror of a mass shooting. We’re too sheltered. Even the language used by news reports. “Active shooter incident.” What kind of passive language is that?? It was a mass murder of children. Spell it plainly. Don’t sugar coat. “Lone wolf.” No it wasn’t, he was backed by the Republican Party.

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