You won’t remember today, but you will know its affects. You will grow of age in a world where mass shootings and blatant hatred are a common occurrence. You are learning to walk and speak in a world where your ability to do so may be taken away one day by a peer in math class, or recess. You will know because what we are seeing now is your reality. These terrible tragedies keep happening. Terrible is such a flippant word, isn’t it? When you take into account the lives that are being so carelessly taken?
I am sorry, my son, that I have brought you into a world that you will have to work so hard to be good in. Where you will think, in kindergarten, that school shooting drills are no big deal. Where you will understand, somehow, inherently, that going to the movies with your friends may end in death. That going out with your friends may mean risking your life. When I went to school, we had drills to practice what to do in case of an earthquake, or tornado: we learned how to protect ourselves from a natural disaster that we had no control over. I look around now and wonder if this hatred and blatant disregard for human life is not the disaster now, one that has gotten out of hand. One that seems impossible to tame.
You won’t remember, but you will understand, because somehow these tragedies are shaping your cells, in ways we can never truly know. This national grief, repeating endlessly, is seeping into your very being, embedding itself into your strengthening muscles, your growing bones. I want to believe there is hope, though, my son: that I can do my part to raise you to believe that everything you do in this life can be done with goodness, and love, and honest intent. That having a right to protect your freedom does not mean that you can eliminate those same rights of your friend, or neighbor.
I will raise you to choose love over hatred. To recognize differences as good, and proper, and necessary, and more than welcome. I will show you that these things make a life good and whole, and that diversity is not a four-letter word. I will teach you to respond to others with a kind heart, knowing full well that the teachings of one mother may be far outweighed by the lessons of a nation.
Dear son, I will do my best. The rest is out of my hands. Be safe, sweet boy. Be safe.