There are those things that make me really stop, as I know they have done to you. That is why I can't even come up with a title for this.
The fact of the matter is that we are left wide open to the casually and purposely cruel who are out roaming the world, wielding guns and home made bombs, pushing the gas pedal to the floor, heading towards crowds. When we wake up on days where overnight someone's world has been rocked to it's core, our eyes are forced open wider than before.
And so here I am, my teenage daughters are inside The House of Blues in Boston in a sold out show, likely in the mosh pit of teenagers, screaming against the stage and attempting to take a selfie with the band in the background, and touch the lead singer as he leans out over the crowd. I am walking circles around the block. I am stepping in for another appetizer two doors down at the Lansdowne Pub. I am walking back up to the front door of the concert venue. I am texting them to be sure their phones are still charged and they are standing upright, happy and safe.
My youngest daughter went to school without my seeing her face a few Mondays ago, and was shown a video of the Las Vegas massacre in her History class.
Like everything, what becomes history is feeling bigger and bigger every day.
When I was my kids' ages, things that I remember worrying about were earthquakes, fires on the hillside and the homeless clan that lived under the bridge on the beach below our house. I know there were more worldly problems at the time, but we were protected by the non-existence of text alerts, the internet, and our household rule of limited television. We had drills to protect from falling earthquake debris and fire, not ones that taught the standard protocol for a bomb scare or a shooter in elementary school hallways.
In 1986, I distinctly remember the school administration wheeling a television into my 7th grade science class and playing the footage of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, which had happened earlier that day. But that...while that was history, it was an accident that occurred due to science, malfunction, and really really bad luck, not the malfunction of unconditional love for the human race, which is occurring more and more every day.
When that Sunday night happened in Vegas, my thoughts went to our day this past May at the Boston Calling Music Festival, less than a week after the bombing at Ariana Grande in Manchester, England. Within days of the bombing, I was the point person for every child we knew who was going to the festival, as I was the lone local parent who would be inside the gates with their children that day.
I drove down to Boston alone with my two teenage girls, I didn't know the area or anyone else attending. Once we got through security, it was just masses of people walking around green lawns in the sunshine, music playing, with beer taps, lobster rolls and steak sandwiches. In retrospect, I don't remember seeing security inside the event, but I know they were there, perhaps disguised as a concert goer. The spotty cell service and crowds caused me to plant myself on the turf in between two stages where a text message could slowly eek in and out to my kids, with a stack of snacks and pile of water bottles, my phone charging three times over with the help of my back up battery pack.
When I was browsing around the internet this week, trying to find a ticket for myself to go inside the House of Blues concert with them, having second thoughts about dropping my girls off in line, I stumbled across the information that U.S. has already suffered 273 mass shootings in 2017. They say that likely we didn’t hear about all of them. I know I didn't. How is this even possible? 2017 isn't even over yet. That is almost "one per day" if my terrible math talents serve me right. Even if my math is wrong, that is 273 too many.
I suppose that now, we have more to fear. Or we know to fear more. I am not sure sure which way it goes. As my girls strike out in independence, on the train to the city, flights across the country on their own, I breathe deep and try not to browse the internet too much to read of tragedies that happened too close to home. As they go to concerts with me, or without me, that's when I realize that there is no way to save ourselves from what can come at us in the world. I am just their mum sitting outside on the front steps of the venue because I was letting them be independent and didn't buy a ticket for myself. T I was raised to pray, and even still, I don't know how to do that. I was raised to trust, and even now, I am not sure how I can do that. It is all about learning, teaching, taking the right, sound steps, making decisions, and breathing deep and getting through.