Fear is finally winning. In my mind. In my little family. In my little world.
I like to say yes as often as possible to my teens when they ask to go places and do things with their friends. While there are more yeses than nos, it seems the Nos get more airtime in Teenager-ville. I can live with that.
We say yes often to age appropriate activities and some times our idea of age appropriate, their idea of age appropriate and their friend's parent's ideas of age appropriate are all out of whack. And so goes life. I can live with that.
Hubs and I definitely fall on the side of boundary setting and according to my kiddos "the strictest parents of ANYone EVER." I can live with that.
So when my 16 year old mentioned a train ride to the city with her buddies a few months ago, after some careful thought, we said yes. It was time for her to go for it. I was ready to live with it.
Fast forward. Paris happened. Colorado happened. San Bernadino happened. The crazies and their gun talk and their "I bet Paris wishes they had conceal and carry," and "We HAVE to be able to protect ourselves AT ALL COSTS" mentality happened. How can I live with this?
These happenings and voices are terrorizing me. They're inside and fucking with my head. Parents of teens know the challenges of letting go and letting them fly are simultaneously scary and abso-fucking-lutely necessary.
My heart sank when just as I got my YES on for the train thing (and we get our YES on in stages as these kids get older,) and felt comfortable with another one of the hundreds of things we allow her to do - I have to stop and consider MORE shit.
Bombs on trains. Some evil and misguided person on a train killing in the name of God knows what. Some wannabe vigilante with a gun thinking he is protecting himself or any of us waving said gun around and hurting people by mistake. Active shooters on trains and walking around. I hate the term active shooter.
Another train trip is planned. A big Star Wars event is planned by my 14 year old. What? What? Stop! Slow down! It's like in Godfather III when Michael Corleone pleads his famous line "Just when I thought I was out, they PULL me back in." I am finally getting used to parenting teens - It's up and down and up and down again. I'm getting comfortable being uncomfortable. AND NOW THIS TERROR SHIT.
So here I sit. Sad and angry and confused. I have allowed terror inside my decision making process. When the kids ask to do something - for example - the Star Wars outing on opening night - we consider the age appropriateness, the timing, who they are going with, can we swing it with the schedule, etc.
But now? I hear "Star Wars outing on opening night" and I consider what theatre is safest and smallest and do I know where the exit signs are and would an active shooter be more likely to go to the 7:00 or 9:00 show." WTF has happened to me?
I get this is more a possibility than a probability. I'm sure some statistic somewhere would tell you that getting shot randomly by an active shooter is still only a possibility and highly UNprobable.
And yet. I've allowed the active shooters and all the commentary and all the sound bites and comments on social media to take toll on my soul.
I'm letting the terrorists win. AND I know I can't.
I get it, I get it. That's what terrorists want. They want us to stop living our lives and live in, well, terror. And here I am, thinking about it and writing about it. I know tragedy can happen anywhere, anytime and in any place. I know if I say no to Star Wars, something could happen at the Bulls game. If I say no to the train trip, something could happen at the local mall. Anything can happen, anytime.
But still. I'm thinking about it. I'm afraid and I'm sad. And if I let it, the fear creeps in and truly terrorizes me. I know I need to let this go - I know I need to just keep living and letting my kids live - but it's just so raw, so real and so unnecessary.
I'm not watching the news this weekend. I won't click on posts about Rahm, Trump, Guns or ISIS. Am I going to let her go on the train? Yes. Am I going to let him see Star Wars opening weekend? Yes. But I am doing it with more than an uncomfortable feeling. I'm doing it with fear and angst and let's face it - some terror.
Have recent events got you thinking differently? What are you doing to change your thought process? Let me know in the comments below.
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