I tend to keep up on current events from my Facebook feed, which is why you’ll never see the news on in our home. Not unless the kids have long been asleep. They know nothing of the tragic events that occurred in Orlando, or Paris, or Newtown. They were even on lockdown at their school earlier this year due to a threat, and to this day my oldest daughter still thinks it was a lockdown drill. A four-hour lockdown drill.
I’ve kept them in a bubble; the bubble that shows them there’s no bad in the world. But lately I’ve noticed that time is running out with my daughter, who at 6 years old, is getting closer to an age where she will soon know the truth.
The sadness my daughter experiences now is because I’ve told her she can’t go over to a friends house; not because she’s mourning yet another tragedy that our country faces. Her main fears in life come from that of a thunderstorm or a scary story; not the one that I experience every single day when I drop her off at school and think to myself, “What if … ”
In some ways, I do this for me. Because it allows me to still have control. It allows me to protect her for just a little bit longer. But I know I can’t do this forever. I can’t protect her for the rest of her life. At some point she will come to realize just how horrific this world can be and just how cruel some of the people who live in it are. It breaks my heart to think of her taking off those rose-colored glasses and finally seeing the world for what it is.
But when is that time? Do I wait until she’s blindsided one day and hears it from a friend or from reading something over my shoulder? Or do I start the discussion, and be the one that breaks the news to her first?
What happened to the days when my biggest parenting stress was whether or not she would sleep through the night? Now I have to worry about telling her about the senseless murders of innocent people. Now I have to stress over what questions she will ask me when she finds out about the next horrific incident that’s bound to happen.
For now, she still has that innocence that a young child has — the innocence that I long for every single day. But I know those days are numbered.
She reads now, so I can’t spell anything out to my husband to keep things from her. She’s much more in tune with the conversations that I have with other adults. She’s also curious about the world around her and asks a lot of thought-provoking questions. These are all things that I’m thrilled about, for the most part. I’m just less than thrilled about the answers she’s going to get in return when she asks those questions.
As parents, it’s our No. 1 job to protect our children, no matter what. But at some point, we can’t keep tugging on those strings. We have to loosen them a bit. Let them discover life on their own. Even if it’s a life that’s not as perfect as it once seemed. A life that’s not full of just happiness.More On