I know violence is as old as time but only recently has it been so pervasively and prevalently on my mind. It may be increased coverage on shootings in light of the national gun debate or it may just be the usual hysterics that rock our nation in the wake of a violent tragedy, but lately it seems that horrifying stories about death and violence and crime are daily taking the centerstage of all news programs. Some stories showcase the bravery of heroes in the face of danger. Others focus solely on the unimaginable grief of loved ones.
Amidst all of this, I find it increasingly hard to fall asleep peacefully at night.
Each night, as I slide under my covers, I try to unseize myself of the fear that is tightly gripping my mind. I try to shake off scary thoughts and imagined sounds. And even though there is just a thin wall separating me from the two precious boys snoring in the next room, in my mind, that wall has the depth of five dozen bricks. As much as I try to ignore all the scary "what-ifs," multiple horrifying scenarious still play out in my mind. I never know how each one should end. And this just increases my anxiety.
What would I do if something really were to happen? How would we protect the kids? I have no doubt I would jump in front of a gun if need be. But would that even be enough? As much as I don't want to think about these scary things, part of me feels like I need to. Isn't it better to be prepared?
I am fervently against gun ownership. I have told my husband a thousand times that I will not live under the same roof as a gun. In my mind, a gun is at least 10 times more likely to result in an unintended injury or death (especially with children in the house) than to result in successfully thwarting a criminal invader. But late at night, when my thoughts are running wild, when every sound coming from the boys' room makes my heart leap, when fear replaces logic, I can't help but think that a gun would make me feel safer. I can't help but feel that a measley baseball bat under the bed is grossly ineffective.
Hopefully the landscape of the national gun debate will quiet (as the next controversial topic takes over) and these scary thoughts will fade. But until then, versus of The Lord's Prayer will continue to run through my mind as I close my eyes each night. I will continue to fall asleep hoping that I never have to be brave. That I never discover the extent of my strength. And that I never meet the depths of my grief.
Being a mom is really hard. I never knew having children would be such an emotional vulnerability.