Why Newtown Made Me Mad…At MY Toddler
Happy New Year! As I write this I don’t feel it completely. See, the children and teachers who were killed in Newtown, Connecticut are still heavily on my mind. Every minute I get with Joelle is now a moment I am reminded, “this could be it”, “what if?”, “remember this time.” I’m kind of permanently sad and permanently happy all at the same time. It’s a bevy of emotion and I can only imagine what that town and those parents have to endure.
That brings me to my reaction to the events of the day. When I heard the news I didn’t understand what happened. I read something like “20 babies died” in a Facebook update and had to scour for more information. As the accounts became more defined I wasn’t as shaken as I thought I should be. I didn’t rush to get my daughter; I didn’t even worry about her much.
As it would happen though this was a day where I was out of my routine. Rene was taping The Bill Cunningham Show which means I had to commute to get my toddler from school. I got there later than usual and didn’t want her teacher to have to wait for our exodus any longer than necessary. I told Joelle to “come here” so she could get ready. More trains, playing, and ignoring me is all that I got. Wait. That’s not all. I got mad and I got scared and I started yelling.
No, I didn’t yell in front of her teacher, but as the weekend and days progressed I realized I was less patient with my daughter. Why? Because sh*t just got real! See, her listening to me or her teachers is now an issue of life or death and I, as a parent, would prefer she know how to listen to preserve life. Every bit of instruction I give her has nothing to do with eating her vegetables or making sure she’s potty trained. Nope. Everything I tell her is now a life-saving drill. Will she listen when someone tells her to get in the closet? If I drive up to her at recess and tell her to hurry up and get in will she blindly follow my lead? (Crazy scenario, I know, but your mind runs the gamut when trying to determine how to massacre-proof your child.) What can I do not to fail as a parent so that if something were to happen she’d at least have a fighting chance? And trust me. I’m not insinuating in any way that the parents in Newtown failed because they didn’t. I have just set the bar so high that if Joelle eats a cracker without sitting down at the table after I told her to that somehow I’ve come up short in my parenting goals.
I knew parenting would require a tough, outer shell…