M is for motherhood. My predominant thought on motherhood is, it makes me worry. When I started this motherhood journey and my two children were babies, I mostly worried about their health. Now, since so many shootings are in the news, I worry about their safety. I didn’t realize the tremendous worry that would come with motherhood.
I remember worrying about my youngest child Rosy, when we took her home from the NICU. The doctor told us that since she was a preemie, she could go blind. I was frightened. I didn’t know preemies could lose their vision. We had to bring her to the eye doctor, many times, during her first year. Gratefully, she remained healthy.
Now that my children are older and more independent, I worry more about their safety. Monday, September 10th, 7:00pm, shots were fired in the apartment complex behind my daughter’s high school. Monday, October 7th, 3:00pm, 8:00pm and 11:00pm, shots were fired, again, in the apartment complex behind her high school. Police quickly responded to protect our students and fortunately they kept them safe.
Often I feel unprepared for motherhood. What do I say to my oldest daughter, Daisy, when she is worried for her safety? As a mom, I want to tell her not to worry. She’s safe. Instead I say, these shootings feel too close to home. She agrees. My husband and I tell her she shouldn’t go near those apartments. I tell her, I am going to become active in Moms Demand Action, https://momsdemandaction.org/ a grassroots movement of Americans fighting for public safety measures that can protect people from gun violence. I feel good now that I have done something about my worry. October 19th I will be decorating and writing postcards to send to Virginians who will be voting soon. The postcards will encourage them to vote for candidates who support gun control measures. Daisy is a few steps ahead of me. Even before the gun shots near her school, she went to a Students Demand Action meeting. She wants to join other students in helping to end gun violence and reverse climate change (another thing we both worry about).
So, what do I do with all this worry? I pray God will keep my kids and family safe. I pray God will keep my friends safe. I struggle with why we pray though, because obviously sometimes our prayers are not answered. Last week, I went to a memorial for a sweet baby, part of our church family. We prayed for the little baby, that he would be healthy, and he passed away. At church on Sunday our Reverend, Dr. Jerry Young, shared that many years ago, a three-year-old baby in his family died of SIDS and that even after all these years, there is no understanding it. It just doesn’t make sense, when children die. He also said that when a child dies, God weeps with us, we are not alone, and we have each other to get us through it.
I know that no matter what happens with our prayers, the act of praying changes me. It makes me more connected to others, more receptive, more positive, more connected to God. Prayer gives me hope and strength to move forward and to act, even when I am tremendously worried about the safety of our children.