No where seems safe. Not a marathon. Not the movies. Not the middle of math class. Yet, as parents, we release our children out into the world every day.
I know a world that’s wonderful, a world I want my sons to know, but that world is changing. How do we protect our kids from a world that scares us?
Twice last week — before today’s news, before a student said, “Ms. Lauer, there was an explosion at the Boston Marathon,” before I grabbed my phone to see if my friends who were there had texted — I stopped.
I stopped pushing ahead in the rat race of the every day — and looked in front of me, looked next to me — and who was there? Noah.
And then I cried.
Because isn’t that what always happens a few days or weeks after something like this happens, we move on. Not because we forget, but because we have to. There are bills to pay and dishes to wash and birthday parties to attend. We move on for our children. For any children. For the future of this country and the world.
If we don’t move on, if we don’t release them into the world, how will they discover its beauty? How will they fall in love?
Under the dream light of stars, after three books, I pull you in closer.
I say, “I love you. I love you so much. More than anything, I love you.”
Noah says, “I love you” back, my salty tears against his soft cheek.
I stop. I stop to soak in the love. I think about Noah under a sky of real stars one day, camping with a lover. I think of another face next to his, this close. This. Kills. Me.
I want my son, my sons, to fall in love, I do, but right now, I just want to hold them so tight that they never leave me.
When I stop to soak in the love I feel for them and they feel for me, I cry. I cry because it’s the best love. Better than anything I ever imagined.
Perhaps that’s why I don’t stop as often as I should. Because if I stop to soak it in, I cry. I need to stop. Because time is moving so fast.
I cannot be afraid. I do not want them to be afraid of the world. How can we change the things we cannot control?
How to love them and protect them at the same time? How to hold them close and let them go? That August day when my mother drove me to Iowa City through tears — I understand now, Mom. I understand your love for me. How you wanted to hold me close but knew it was time to let me go, to discover the world by myself.
That was the best gift. My independence.
And, one day, I must give Noah and AJ the same gift.
I will not live in fear. I will not raise them in fear. How do I do this when I am so afraid?