When I first heard the news about the mass shooting in the Colorado theatre, my heart sank. Not just because it was a tragedy for the people who lost their lives or their families, but because as a nation, as a mother, it was officially no longer an innocent activity to go the movies. It just reinforced every instinct I have ever felt as a parent that I think should be to broaden my children’s horizons, to show them the world. But it’s not. It’s to wrap them up in this tiny little town in a bubble and keep them as sheltered for as long as I possibly can, which isn’t nearly as long as it used to be.
I had this conversation the other day with my friend as we watched our children run through the sprinklers with relatively few cares in the world. She spoke of how, at 8, she was already seemingly losing influence or control over her son’s choices in this world. Before you know it, maybe they are 18 and they want to go see Batman play at the local theatre. And that doesn’t seem like such a bad choice, does it?
I know that having little ones is time consuming and space consuming and money consuming and all consuming and most of the time me consuming. But at the end of the day I can control what they eat, what they watch, where they go. I can close my eyes each night with the great comfort that they are tucked safely in their beds. I’m assuming that if I ask parents of teens and older children, they would instantly make the trade of late night feedings, over late night parties.
The bubble will burst. I know I can’t shield them from the heartache and suffering and abject insanity that makes it dangerous to go to the movies, or ride your bike forever. I know it’s coming soon. But until then I will say a silent prayer for as long as I can to keep all of us and all of you safe. As I watch my daughter run through the living room in her tutu and cape protecting a fake ice cream cone, I know Super Ruby can’t really keep us safe. I know she can’t live within the gift of blissful ignorance that childhood should be forever. But lord please keep them there for as long as possible