- I’m a mom, and being a parent during a pandemic, formula shortages, and school shootings is too much.
- I long for the days when we didn’t have to deal with all of this as parents.
- I want to protect my children as much as possible.
“I’m checking in,” my friend texted, as she does regularly. “How are you today?”
There’s a small part of me that marvels at how we’ve adapted to this pandemic-related distance and isolation; how, as parents, we found a way to toe the line – through sleepless nights, balancing careers and children, and responsibilities and relationships, while watching every pillar of safety and comfort crumble at our feet.
The rest of me, however, is not optimistic at all.
“Frankly?” I answer. “I want to walk in the ocean, never to be seen again.”
I’m not well. If you’re a mother, I bet you know exactly how I feel.
Every morning I wake up and beg the universe to prove me wrong – to show me that, no, things can’t get any worse, the worst is over and we can only go up from here. ‘here. But like clockwork, my fears come true in all sorts of ways, and as the sun went down, I saw what I already knew I would do: things not only can get worse, but do, will and will. have already done.
I wish we could go back in time
So when that inevitable tomorrow arrives, and I face this barrage of microtrauma upon macrotrauma — like another classroom exposure to COVID-19, scraped knees, senseless murders, or juice box-fueled tantrums – I find myself almost ridiculously longing for the days of yore, for yesterday, even, when we didn’t have to reckon with mounting financial debt, a deadly mutant virus, pervasive social injustice, a million deaths from COVID-19 and the government’s relentless attempts to control the comings and goings in women’s bodies.
That was the time, I think. If only we could go back – to when there were 19 more children alive in Uvalde, Texas than there are today.
But we can’t. So suddenly, without warning, I find myself in stride, deafeningly silent, reconciling this brutal atrocity with the overwhelming gratitude I feel to know that my own babies are safe right now, nestled under my wings and in their beds; knowing full well that it could have been my children – but that, at least this time, that was not the case.
I want to protect my children
I remember those early days of motherhood when I was granted a measure of control; when my babies were safe at home, tied to my body, swaddled and drunk on milk as my heart beat to the rhythm that lulled them to sleep.
But I learned in real time how fleeting these moments are and that long before I am ready, I am tasked with sending them out into the world to discover moment by moment what the act of living entails.
I desperately want to protect my children until I can’t anymore. But there’s no pause button, so I can’t access either a respite from madness or a time to collect my thoughts, to ask myself seriously: what am I doing? Do I send the children to school today? Will they be safe?
And it’s my privilege to expire at the end of the day, when my babies, tattered and dirty, stalk their muddy footprints on my floors. Imagine that. Imagine knowing that the almost insurmountable trauma, relentless fatigue and hopelessness we feel as mothers is but a dream for the dozens of parents in Uvalde who would give anything for the monotony of such a thing.
I feel so lost as I lay in the wake. In truth, I don’t know how much longer I can endure. And in these darkest hours, I wonder, did I make a mistake?