Our little Samantha started to crawl last week. She quickly moves towards shiny beads, tiny Barbie accessories and board game pieces that get left on the floor by her older sisters. Now it is time to make sure the baby gate is up and that the house is “baby proof”. I sometimes think to myself, “how is the youngest of three going to survive her toddler-hood unscathed?”
As you give your heart, love, time and energy to the lives of these little people, there is always the fear that something awful can happen to them. From the time they are born we try to handle them with care. We bring them home from the hospital, tucked in their approved car seat, driving carefully down the street with our hazards flashing. We read our parenting books, research the products we buy, and strive to keep our sleep deprived brains working. As they grow older we realize as scary as those first couple months seem, they are the easy years. As they grow older we fall more in love with them. We send them off into the world; pray and cross our fingers that they will be cared for and safe when we are not with them. We try to teach them to not trust strangers, to follow their gut if something doesn’t feel right, that their bodies are theirs and sacred, and to look both ways when crossing the street. We love them with every ounce of our being. It is unfathomable to think of them being taken from us under any circumstances.
As we send them to school in a car equipped with best convertible baby car seats, to their friend’s houses, to camp, to the mall, to birthday parties, someday to college and to travel the world we are forced to trust. We are forced to trust our children’s intuition, the quality of their caretakers, and any safety measures taken. We are forced to trust our own ability to deal if all else fails. Furthermore, we are forced to face the reality that no matter how hard we try to take all the risk out of life, it will unfortunately always be there.
As a nation, we will hopefully move through this with love and grace. As youth industries, we will hopefully strive to improve whatever we can to lessen the risk. And as parents and caretakers, we will hopefully continue to trust our inner guidance and strength however difficult that may seem.
My heart aches for those affected by this latest tragedy. My emotions relate to every parent that can’t imagine what it must feel like to lose a child. My mind continues to block out the temptation to get too driven by fear. And my spirit continues to kiss, hug and release my children out into this world knowing that each moment of life is precious.