I have been absent from my blog for a while. A lot has gone on in that time, but the most harrowing was the shooting in CT on Dec 14. We live nowhere near CT, we are in fact several states away. But those children were the same age as RP. The exact same age as my son. I can not fathom the pain their families are still in. I can not fathom the fear in the hearts of families who, like me, are sending their children back to school tomorrow after Winter Break in that small town. I know that when I think about what those children went through I feel like screaming and crying. I feel like holding onto my little guy and NEVER letting him out of my sight. Still. Yes, we had a full week of school after Sandy Hook where nothing happened ... but the fear still lives in my heart and soul. Sandy Hook Elementary School had a better security program than RP's school. If some insane person wanted to go into RP's school and start shooting, there is nothing that would stop them. There are too many entrances into the school. The doors are unlocked. And I live in the country - unfortunately in Eric Cantor's Congressional District so you know that there are people who are heavily armed living here.
Now, don't get me wrong. We own guns. My husband hunts and we currently have 3 deer worth of meat in our freezer from his hunting this season. I am not anti-gun. But I AM anti-people killing guns. I do not believe that the Founding Fathers intended people to own guns that are capable of shooting 30 + rounds before needing to be re-loaded or have another extended magazine shoved in. The guns that we had in the country when the Second Amendment was crafted were all MUZZLE-LOADERS. They didn't even have rifled barrels. They could not BEGIN to conceive of the firepower that is available for purchase by citizens.
Also, I grew up with a military father. I have a healthy respect for the men and women who put their lives on the line for our country. I also have a healthy respect and love for the spouses and children of those men and women who live with the knowledge that Mommy or Daddy may get called up to go fight overseas and may never come home. I did not grow up in a household that hated guns. I did not grow up in a family who refused to own guns - on either side. Both sides of my family hunted while I was growing up.
I just don't see a point in allowing private citizens to own weapons of mass destruction. I don't see the wisdom in putting armed guards in every single school nationwide the way the head of the NRA is advocating. More guns is NOT THE ANSWER. I don't know the exact answer, but it has to include destigmatizing mental health issues and fully covering ALL treatments for however long they are needed in order to take care of this very important facet of health. As someone who HAS mental health issues (depression, anxiety, problems with crowds and public spaces) I know firsthand that the treatment and care that we provide as a nation for those people who are in need of help falls woefully short. Mental health issues are still viewed as a shameful topic. If you have a chemical imbalance that causes diabetes, that's ok. You can hold your head up high knowing that it's not your fault. But if you have a chemical imbalance that causes anxiety and depression then you should be hidden away and feel ashamed and you should NOT be allowed treatment for your chemical imbalance. You obviously have done something WRONG and are to blame for the chemical imbalance - even if it is something that you have had all of your life.
I would love to be able to lighten this blog post. But my mind just isn't there right now. I have put my child to bed and will be getting up in the morning to put him on the bus to go out of my hands and out of my control. He may have inherited the chemical imbalance that has plagued me all of my life and that plagued my mother all of her life. He may have inherited other medical conditions that are genetic as well. I have no control over those, either.
Ok, I COULD have refused to reproduce so as to spare any child my particular DNA. But he is such a gift from the gods, he is so smart and loving and tender-hearted and giving and sweet ... looking back I can honestly say that he is the very best thing I have ever done - contributing my DNA and my womb and my arms to bring him into the world. He is not "the gods' gift to the Earth" - he is certainly human and flawed as are the rest of us. But I can not imagine a world without him in it. My world would not be the same if he had never existed and my world would end if he suddenly left it. I could not bear going through what my parents went through in helping to plan the memorial service for their child. He is my one and only. He is my heart. He is my joy (even when he is being a typical boy and not listening to me and continues to play in his bed after I've told him to go to sleep because it's a school night). He is the little man that I always knew was waiting for me, the one I am supposed to guide and teach on his way to adulthood. He is my true love (well, one of them and currently the most important). He is my child - a completely whole, perfect being who was created out of the raw materials that Patrick and I contributed. He is perfect because of his flaws and rough patches, not in spite of them. He is perfect because of who he IS inside. He will never have to "be perfect at" anything other than being Robert Parker; and he's already accomplished that. I thank the fates, the Heavens and the gods every day for allowing me to be his parent. I hope and pray that I will be allowed to continue to be his parent until I depart this shell I inhabit. I hope and pray that I never have to bury him the way my parents did and the way those parents in Newtown, CT had to.