Saturday, December 15, 2012

No place to hide

It's after midnight on Friday night, and I'm home from a shift at the newspaper. I'm watching old "Saturday Night Live" episodes on Netflix as I type this. Netflix just added episodes from the 1980s, but unfortunately, they are not complete episodes (no musical guests, and the 1984 episode that Eddie Murphy hosted -- maybe the most quoted episode from my youth, didn't have every skit, including the film where Eddie disguises himself as a white man). I'm actually happy that the wet snow outside has coated the satellite dish, thus forcing me into NetFlix, because I might be too tempted to watch CNN or MSNBC for more coverage of the Connecticut shootings.

After a long day of watching the tragedy unfold, the last thing I needed this late was more reminders on how the world can be a terrible place.

No matter what I do, I can't completely protect my sons.

I can't stop not thinking about this conclusion, even after hours of work and SNL reruns. I know that it's something all parents must accept -- that there's always a small, small chance something bad will happen to their kids. We can't be with them 24 hours a day. And even when we are with them, there's always a risk something unexpected, something tragic, can occur. I know all this. If you dwell on it, you aren't going to be able to function as a parent. A line from "Finding Nemo" says it best (and I'm paraphrasing): You can't never let anything happen to your kids, because then nothing ever will.

Still, after following the news all day, and after thinking about the children who died in a place they thought was safe, I couldn't help but feel helpless.

On nights I work, Lori usually lets the boys fall asleep in our room, and then I move them when I get home. Tonight, I didn't move them, instead kissing them goodnight and letting them sleep. Let them stay close to their mom, where they will be ever so slightly safer tonight.


I can't protect them forever. I can't protect them the way I want. I can't. It's a horrible fact of parenting made all the more horrible today.

I should go to sleep, but I can't bring myself to do so. I'm afraid to close my eyes. I'm afraid what I'll think of when I try to fall asleep. I'm afraid of what I might dream.

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