Being a mother is such a fine balance of sanity. If I thought too much about the what ifs...what if she falls, what if it's too cold, what if the tree falls on the house...I would absolutely go insane. I truly would. Being a mother is the hardest job in the world not because of the sleeplessness, not because of the breastfeeding or pumping, not because of those responsibilities.
Being a mother is hard because suddenly the worry of keeping a child safe is yours. And that is the heaviest responsibility you will ever carry because sometimes, despite all efforts, you just cannot keep them safe. And it sucks.
Suddenly, in 21st century America, you worry about sending your kid to the movies or the mall or school. Sometimes, it seems like staying in my home with my kids safe and sound would be easier.
But I know we cannot live life like that.
So we move onward. As mothers we teach our children goodness. We help them to be safe and make them feel safe when the monsters from under the bed reveal themselves. MLK said,
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
So this is where we stand. We stand on the edge of darkness pushing light. We stand on the edge of hatred pushing love. As a mother, it is my greatest hope that my children become beacons of light and love in a world, an America, so desperately seeking both.
Maybe, then, sheltering my children, no matter how appealing it seems, is not the answer. How will they learn? How will they grow? That is the hardest part of motherhood: living knowing that you will have to let them go. Knowing the world isn't so safe. Knowing that there are bad things out there. Knowing that you cannot always give them the safety you wish you could.
So, while I can, I will hold my babies a little longer. I will keep them safe from monsters under the bed (or birds pecking on the back windows of the house). I will protect them. And love them. And show them goodness, so that they may be light and love.