To my son, in the wake of tragedy…

Unspeakable tragedies happen. It’s the unfortunate reality of the world we live in. You are 2 years old today, and too young to take notice of such things. But one day, you will. You will see sadness, and violence, and a blatant disregard for the people around you. And it will scare you. It’s good that it scares you. If it ever stops scaring you, that’s the day I will worry the most.
To you, and all the children who have to live to witness these tragedies, and even more so to those who won’t live through them, all I can do, all any parent can do, is tell you over and over again that we will do everything in our power to protect you from life’s evils. They exist. And sometimes, they will be stronger than us. But I vow, as your mother, to do absolutely everything I can to keep you safe, today and always.
You should know, too, that there are good people in the world. They are all around you, but sometimes they get overshadowed by all of the bad things happening. There are people, like the courageous teachers in Newtown, CT, who would shield you with their own bodies if you were ever in danger. There are people who will help you if you are ever in need. So in spite of the sadness and violence and blatant disregard, if you look a little deeper, you will see joy, and kindness, and fierce protection. And it will comfort you.
At this young age, your days pass by in an innocent and blissful haze. But when the haze lifts, and you begin to understand good and evil, kindness and cruelty, always ask yourself what you would do. When you see someone suffering, ask what you would want someone to do for you if you were the one suffering. And then find a way to do that for the person or people you see. Often it’s a tiny, seemingly insignificant task, like holding a door for someone, or donating something you no longer use to someone who really needs it. But to the person on the other end, it may mean the world.

Surround yourself with kindness and love everyday, and reflect it back on all those you see. Maybe one day, when someone else (perhaps your own child) tries to look deeper, past the sadness and violence and blatant disregard, they will see you, and it will comfort them.

With unspeakable sadness and heartfelt sympathy, I will try to do the same for you and for a world that will never be the same after 12/14/12.

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