There are times when I’m overwhelmed by how hard it is to be a mother. I spent my free moments this past weekend reading about the horror unleashed at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater. I can’t imagine being a mother of one of the kids in the theater and getting a call in the middle of the night. Or being in the theater with my child when the shots were fired.
I also wonder about the mother of the shooter, James E. Holmes? That poor woman. I don’t know anything about her, but I imagine she didn’t raise her son to be a killer. How can you foresee when you’re changing diapers or cutting the crusts off of sandwiches that some day your son will go on a horrific rampage.
The thing that gets me is that no matter how much we plan for our children to do well and be safe, you can’t really control what they do – big or small. To illustrate, I was walking through a parking lot with my two sons, 6 and 8-years-old, on Friday. I thought, I’m not going to make them hold my hand because I’ve talked to them enough times about how to look where you’re going. I told them to watch out for cars and be aware of their surroundings before we started walking toward the store.
Then I had to drag my 8-year-old son out of the way of a slow moving car. I went into a frantic lecture about how he needs to be aware of what is happening around him; watch out for cars, watch out for bikes, watch out for people with guns.
There are so many things in parenting that are out of our control. Later that night, my 6 year-old came into the room and said his eyes hurt. We went into the bathroom and his eyelids were swollen up twice their size. We had just seen him and he was fine. The next moment he wasn’t fine.
It turned into an unsettling night and morning until we knew for sure that his throat wasn’t going to swell up along with his eyes during this bizarre allergic reaction to god-knows-what.
The conclusion I’ve come to is that as a mother I can’t ensure that my children will be safe. I can’t ensure that they will be healthy. I can only talk to them and guide them. And worry.
Yvonne Condes is the Editor and co-Founder of MomsLA, a Community of the Top Mom Bloggers in Los Angeles.