Another Mother's Son
This week, to write about anything else seems trite.
And yet I feel completely unequipped to enter the conversations regarding gun control, a society that normalizes violence, mental health....
So I remained quiet.
Saw the girls off to school. Jason to work. Made another cup of coffee and another...and looked at my son.
It's virtually impossible to wrap my mind around the fact that the shooter in Las Vegas was a mother's son.
Conversations with family and neighbors indicate that he was not disruptive, gave no indication that he was capable of violence, let alone a massacre of this level.
In September there was a school shooting very near my own hometown of Spokane. In contrast to the Las Vegas shooter, the boy at Freeman High School demonstrated signs that he was distraught, wanted to hurt himself...or others. How much did his mother know? Would she wish to change what happened? Does she question things she said? Things she did?
Sam Strahan, the boy that lost his life trying to stop that shooter in Freeman High, was another mother's son. She got it right. Her son didn't perpetuate violence. He didn't even turn away from it.
In the face of the worst imaginable, Sam walked towards it. Tried to prevent anyone else from being hurt.
This week spent with Eli looked pretty much like any other. I pushed him on the swings. Practiced using his pipette. We built a zoo out of Duplo blocks and went out for cocoa. There were potty accidents and peanut butter toast and snuggling. In my heart, I wondered...I keep wondering, is this truly how it's done? Is this the right way to mother a son? Am I doing enough?
Will he be a helper, not a hurter?
Stories from Las Vegas continue to emerge. Stories about victims and about heroes. Someone's son shielding a wife...girlfriend...friend...stranger from gunfire.
I have always loved this quote from Fred (as in Mister) Rogers,
When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping."
I won't let you believe this has been a week of nothing but peace, love, and harmony in the Pink Door House. My son is three. There were tantrums. A dinner plate shoved across the table. And then shoved again for emphasis. A bedtime resistance.
No matter how true my heart is, how much I desire to mother him just so, tempers flare.
I'm guilty of yelling.
I'm guilty of feeling guilty about yelling.
Is now the right time to send him to bed without finishing dinner?
Which do I confiscate...the Spider-Man blankie, or the Wonder-Woman action figure? (Okay, Barbie. She's a Wonder-Woman Barbie.)
Is there is a magical roadway of parenting that isn't paved with doubt? That doesn't have a pot hole or twenty of guilt and indecision?
If you know of one, please take the wheel...
Will my own son be a helper someday?
Time will tell.
Yesterday I asked Eli, How was preschool today?
He said, It was good. I didn't hit my teacher.
It's a start.