It seems as though you can't turn on the news anymore without being met with some new tragedy or threat: a madman with a gun, power-hungry dictator, debilitating disease, kidnapping, sickos preying on children, etc. It pains me that the world into which I have brought my sweet innocent little boy is so dangerous and broken. I wish I could put him in a bubble and protect him from it all. I have a new appreciation for the worry from my own mother (I have a new appreciation for many things about her, but that's a subject for another time). She insisted that I call her every morning when I drove to school to be sure that I had arrived safely. "I trust you," she would tell me,"it's other people I don't trust." At the time, I thought she was so overprotective and paranoid. I get it now, Mom, I understand.
The timing of Carter's birth brought the ugliness of the world into the forefront of my mind. My water broke on the day of the Sandy Hook shooting. I watched with horror from my bed in the labor and delivery room as the details of the tragedy unfolded. My heart broke for those families. I thought about the presents that would sit unopened beneath the tree. I thought of the parents who were forced to turn from the joy and excitement of planning the Christmas holiday to the heart-wrenching task of planning the funeral of their children. I thought of the tiny coffins. I thought of the experiences that those kids were robbed of: prom, graduation, marriage, children of their own, etc. The shooting put my fears of labor, the NICU, and jaundice into perspective. I was grateful to have my son safe and relatively healthy. Part of me felt out of place celebrating Carter's birth while the country grieved. I still get a tightness in the back of my throat when I think about the innocent lives cut much too short.
I hope that good will come out of this ugliness. I hope it reminds people to live in the moment, enjoying everyday that we have with our loved ones. Time spent worrying about the future is time stolen from the joys of the present. I am thankful that I can stay at home with Carter these first few years, that I don't have to trust the care of my young son to a nanny or preschool. I don't have to wonder if he is being cared for properly. I won't always have this luxury. There will come a time that I will have to let him go out into the world on his own. It won't be easy, and I know that I will worry about him.