I am sitting on my front steps waiting for the bus which will bring Boo to me. It is lovely May afternoon. Birds are singing, my hanging baskets of flowers are in full bloom. Because we are observing No Mow May, my lawn is a tangled thicket of grass, weeds, and dandelions. It is a pollinators delight. I hear the bus chug around the corner and wheeze to a stop in front of my house. Tim, the driver, waves and gives me a hearty greeting. We wait for Boo to emerge from the cavernous inside of the bus. He pops into a view, a tall bespectacled fellow, hunched a bit due to his backpack, his beloved Sam clutched in his hands. He gives me a lopsided grin and tags after me into the house. Once inside he flops down on the sofa, Sam in one hand, his iPad in the other. He chats about his day and watches his beloved Curious George. His life is good. I do not turn on the news. I do not want to bring the harsh realities of life in America into my living room. I do not want Boo to hear the news of the day. I want to shield him. I am acutely aware that I am a very lucky mom. I was able to meet my son at the curb and welcome him home from school. Nineteen children were unable to do this today. Nineteen pairs of parents are grieving as their children were snatched from them, senselessly.
“You have to be taught to hate and fear. It has to be drummed in your dear little ear. You have to be carefully taught.” Boo does not know how to hate or fear. Neither did those 19 children in a Texas elementary school. But hate and fear made its way into that school and did its unspeakable worst. I had thought Sandy Hook would be a turning point in gun violence. I thought our country would say enough and tighten gun reform. But nothing changed. Since Sandy Hook, I have had powerful, gripping images of a masked gunman breaking into Boo’s school. His classmates are among the most vulnerable. They would not know how to react to an active shooter. They would not know to run or hide. And they would die, shielded by their teachers, who would also die. I did notice after Sandy Hook that schools, Boo’s school included, are now locked down and a visitor has to be buzzed in from the office. This gives me scant solace. A lock and a buzzer will not deter a madman with a gun.
So, it is 4:43 in the morning. I can’t sleep. My dogs and hedgehogs are scattered around me, snoozing soundly. I can hear Boo making little sleep sounds from his room, but he is deeply asleep. I am the lucky one. I can slip into his room, silently, and check on him. Nineteen mothers had this chance ripped away from them. Senselessly. I have no words to put to my grief and rage. Last night I ran with running group, so wrecked inside I could barely speak. I am so grateful to my good friends who gently pulled me along in their wake and did not ask me to talk. Though running almost always soothes me, there is no way to check this pain. Over 80 % of our country is in favor of gun reform but are held hostage by 50 senators who are deep in the pockets of the NRA. Why do these people represent us? They could care less about our hopes, dreams, needs. They are motivated strictly by greed.
I will log off here. But, let this be my rallying cry. Take to the streets. March. Call. Write. Our children deserve better. Our children deserve to attend school in safely. Our fellow parents deserve to meet their children at the curb at the end of the day. If you can’t do it for you, do it for Sandy Hook, do it for all the other schools that fell to senseless violence. Do it for Boo. Be a good human, act now.