My mom talks about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy as an end of their innocence. After that point, things were never the same. When my generation was born, we were born into a world where Presidents, civil rights leaders and musicians were gunned down and killed. We were never as innocent as our parents.
In our lifetime, schools have been shot up, airplanes have been driven into buildings and marathons have been bombed. We started out in a world less innocent than our parents’ and it has gotten nothing but worse. So now these little children I birthed are starting out in a world even less innocent than I.
The recent bombing has caused me to hug Drew tighter before dropping him off at preschool, it’s caused me to tell Gabby and Noah that I love them before leaving them at the gym daycare. Oh gee, isn’t that sweet. No. It’s not because the recent current events are focusing me on living each day to the fullest. It’s because the recent current events make me feel like somehow, someway they are going to get me, get us.
Terrorists? Maybe. Trench coat mafia? Perhaps. I’m not sure who the villain really is. Media? Western living? How do any of us stand a chance when nothing is off limits? A mother who sends her son off to war prays for her son to come home alive. And if he doesn’t, she knows that that was always a possibility when her son bravely decided to serve our country. Now, however, mothers have to live in a world where our children may become casualties of war just living our normal lives.
Parents so frequently comment on how we worry about the world we are leaving for our children. Everything from the environment to the deficit to crime is worse than it was when we came into this world. And with a four year old growing up knowing that people were murdered and injured while at a marathon, he never gets to be have an innocence. Why does a four year old need to know at such a tender age that such horrible things can happen to good people? Because that’s the kind of world we live in. We live in a world where stories like these have become our history. I don’t want my children to live like this. I don’t want my children to have to carry this burden. I want my kids to be able to have some innocence.
I want my kids to be more sheltered. And I want the world to go back to being a place where kids could ride their bikes until it was dark out, guns were not necessary at a school, buildings stood tall and proud, and runners past the finish line with only the adrenaline of a successful run flowing through their veins.