The nightmares are starting again. I go through these phases when the little spark of fear lights itself underneath all my senses. Usually if I stay away from the news they go away, but with social media shoving headlines down my throat, sometimes it is hard to escape.
Just this week, two 18 year old boys my daughter has attended school with have been arrested. One for murder and the other rape. The calm mother inside of me tries to assure me everything will be alright but the panicked mother is feeling the fear. I felt safe at school while I was growing up. Sure, bad things happened. There were drugs and accidents and even suicides but rape and murder? Growing up in a small town, someone was always watching. Everyone knew everyone else and if my parents weren’t watching me, you can bet someone else’s parents were. I didn’t have to deal with the severity of what these teens do today. It’s hard as a parent to push the worry aside and pretend a normal day at school is still a normal day at school.
I think about the parents of these two boys. How must they feel knowing their children are in jail? Geez, they are 18 and considered an adult but to me they are still babies trying their best to grow up. This should be an exciting year. The end of their high school chapter and the beginning of who they might have been. I think about the parents of the girls. One girl dead and the other girls emotionally and physically raped. Those parents must lie awake too. My heart hurts for all of them and for our kids too. It hurts for our communities and our world as a whole. Poor impulse control, lack of supervision and a surprising lack of fear toward authorities and consequences. I’ve sat quietly by and watched the transformation. I’ve watched schools protect the wrong kids and not follow through on consequences others really needed. I’ve watched kids become apathetic when it comes to their behavior and reputation because they are so hell bent on living in the moment with little regard or thought for the future. YOLO, isn’t that the theme they live by? I watch parents paying less and less attention because they are struggling in their own bad relationships or just too busy with the demands of their job. What can I possible do? I can’t carry the burden and I cannot change what the world has become. What I can do is make sure that I communicate with my kids. Make sure they can come to me about anything going on knowing I will always be here trying to protect them. This is one of the reasons it is so important to me that home be a soft place to fall. I’m passionate about home being a place they feel loved and safe and protected for a little while each and every day. I pray I am doing all I can to help them through these difficult years and to help them make sense of the chaos around them.
I hope the nightmares stop but deep down I know the truth. When I wake up they are still there and are very much true. They aren’t nightmares at all but the reality of everyday life and I admit, my feathers are ruffled.