Wednesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

If there was one good thing about being away this weekend is that I did not watch the news. Not once. I don’t need to tell you all, but Friday’s news about the Connecticut murders affected me profoundly. I couldn’t stop thinking about my kids, especially my own kindergartener, and was overcome by grief for the families. I was angry, too. Angry about our lack of priorities in this country: that we don’t take mental illness seriously or feel that everyone in this country should have the right to comprehensive health care coverage; our fanaticism with guns.

You could say I was moved by this personal account in Jezebel by a mother with a mentally ill son that regularly threatens her. She did a good job shining a light on the challenges parents like her face in receiving help for their children. It appears that our only response to such kids is…jail.

One more true mom confession in this tragedy: I haven’t spoken to my kids about it. At all. The kids are off this week and next from school and DH and I have kept the TV off except to watch pre-recorded shows. They haven’t asked any questions about the shootings, which makes me suspect that they don’t know. If they find out and ask me questions, I will hold them and answer them. But, for now, I want them to hold onto their innocence, just a little while longer…

Again, I am angry that kids their age weren’t able to do the same. Speaking of, I did find this photo collage of the victims sweet and cathartic. I also shared this gem by our very wise “music teacher” on Facebook:

“OK I keep seeing people post this Huckabee statement. Here’s what I think. God was definitely there on Friday. He was there when the principal and school psychologist made a run toward the gunman in an attempt to save lives, and when someone turned on the PA system to alert the school of what was happening, He was with the brave teachers who shielded children from bullets with their own bodies, He was there when the teachers hid with their students and read to them and comforted them and told them that they loved them, He was there with the janitor who risked his life by running down the hall alerting the staff that there was a gunman, He was there with the first responders who told the children to hold hands and close their eyes as they evacuated, and He was with the parents waitiing for their children at the fire station. Even if we don’t have school led prayer, I’m sure that there was a lot of prayer in and around the school that day and I’m positive that God never abandons anyone in their hour of need.”

Amen! What have you told your children about this tragedy? What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

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About Elisa

I am a journalist and online organizer who is the co-publisher of this blog. When I am not online, I am shuttling around my two kids, an 8-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter.

34 thoughts on “Wednesday Morning Open Thread

  1. Made a safety plan with ds in case I am not at the bus stop. It wasn’t a concern at our old neighborhood because he was last off the bus, so one time I was late and his driver called me and just waited a few minutes with him. Now there are lots of kids on the bus, so if for some reason I couldn’t get through on the phone, I sent a note home to the mom of his “bus stop buddy.” She’s in second grade and her brother is in fifth; they go to the bus stop unsupervised. But the little girl said her mom was fine with ds going to their house in case of emergency. His stop is on a very busy road so I wouldn’t want him out there alone, ever, waiting for me.

  2. I think she would be ok with me posting. Chile pepper’s son went in to get a new pacer lead yesterday. Today she posted the new lead isn’t working so he’s going back into surgery this afternoon. Not sure what time that would be here.

  3. Liza’s 13 so we talked about it but in our own Yankee way. I held her a little tighter last Friday and she let me… she said she thought of kids who had lost their friends… I said I thought of parents who lost their children and those brave teachers. But by Sunday we were business as usual… she had one moment of “I’m scared this can happen here” and my response was a typically brusque.. “don’t be. you can’t live your life scared. get up . go to school, go to work, live your life and carry on.”

    we’re not big on wallowing in my house. I think about the tragedy daily as being up here in New England I have many friends in CT including a dear college friends whose kids go to Sandy Hook and the middle school in New Town… but Other than reposting musicteachers wonderful post and few other thought ful links I’m trying very very hard not to make it my pain or my family’s pain.

    • I appreciate that. DH and I have been trying to be a bit more watchful around H- he tends to internalize questions and issues and they come out in weird ways- but otherwise have been trying to take a page from your book. We’ll light a candle each night for the next few weeks, but we’re not really talking much about it.

      • We’re not big on the touchy feely part of public tragedies… which of course doesn’t mean we dont feel sorrow or fear or pain..but I have this need to keep my thoughts within my family…Liza wore green and white on Monday as all her friends were doing (ah the power of Instagram among teens to start a movement) and that was about it…

        • Oh, here it was blue and yellow, but same idea.

          I did tell my kids about it figuring they would hear one way or another. They were both horrified but the 8 year old seems to have gone on his way without thinking about it too much. The 12 year old has returned to it more.

          It’s been hard on me and DH both as an event and as a parent, of course. But also because I have been upset about the deaths caused by our gun culture for so long, this is just really frustrating and enraging.

    • We haven’t talked to Lucy about it at all and I suspect she hasn’t heard anything about it, or if she has, she blew it off. She and her friends talk about and play so many weird things on the playground (vampires vs bad guys, princesses to the rescue) that I think if she heard of the shooting from another kid she might just put it in that context and not really think it was real. She tends to eventually talk about things that are bothering her and so far we’re seeing no signs that this is one of those things.

      We have asked her lots of random questions about her days at school to fish for the topic and…nothing. Enough time has passed now that I am thinking it’ll probably stay that way, which I’m thankful about.

  4. Wow! I didn’t expect this at all. That was my reaction to some of my “Christian” friends posting that Huckabee video repeatedly. I am honestly humbled by how many people have shared my thoughts on the matter.

    • I reposted yours with a few sentences of my own and got tons and tons of likes. No negativity at all. I think it is exactly what a lot of people needed to hear, and I also think that your situation makes you especially wise on the question of God and suffering. Thanks again for sharing.

  5. I’m back! Somehow I got locked out of WordPress – at first I thought it was something I said :-) But thanks to Elisa and the programmer I can log in now.

    I haven’t talked to even my older kids much. I kind of followed their lead – I didn’t want to project how much it was affecting me onto them.

    In personal news after house-sitting and living with friends for the last 6 months I moved into my own apartment on Sunday night. It is a little 1 bedroom, but we will make it work. But tonight is the first night I will have the kids there with me so I think it will feel more real. And I have them for 5 whole days so that makes me happy. (We will all be celebrating the holidays at the old house together which I was dreading, but feel pretty OK about it now.)

  6. Music Teacher, your response to Huckabee is exactly right. Good work!

    We haven’t talked about the shooting with our kids at all, and we’ve tried to look casual as we hurriedly turn off the news every time it gets to the topic of Newtown (a lot).

    We’ll talk about it if they ask, but it’s also wierd to me that kids can tune out such awful news…I think the news is always bad and distant, so this shooting may be no different for my kids than any of the other bad news that’s played (i.e. war, rape, other murders, it all blends together on the news, even npr).

    I just can’t believe the weapons weren’t locked away from such a sick kid that was about to be committed. Maybe background checks should include family checks and adequate storage checks? And I really, really like the idea of mandatory gun buybacks and ending cartridge production for non-hunting weapons. I’m all for hunting for food.

  7. `My kids do not know what happened in CT. I explicitly asked my parents not to watch the news channels while they were watching our kids this weekend.

    And they sure as hell don’t know about the mall shooting, or the fact that DH and I were there. DD is the world’s biggest worrywart, and I felt I need to protect her from this fear if at all possible (she’s only 7 years old). As it is, when we got home my parents were watching a Spanish channel, which was playing a tribute to Jenni Rivera (Mexican singer who died in a plane crash). DD ended up peppering me with questions about Jenni, aircraft safety, etc. for the next hour or two. I was so shaken up after Saturday, I know I wouldn’t have handled any discussion about CT with her gracefully or cogently.

    • Erika, again, I am so sorry this happened to you.

      Re: Maya…my son is the same way. He’s constantly asking about safety, the location of the smoke alarms, whether they are working properly, ect. It worries me because that’s how I am, and I don’t want him to be like me. I’m having a bit of a hard time adjusting to a new house and worrying about stuff like the carbon monoxide monitors working, is the pilot light on, ect. BUT he’s fairly obsessed with firefighters (we had the fire truck come to our house for his birthday! And he never misses a chance to chat up a firefighter. Or a police officer or safety guard). Do you think maya might benefit from seeing some “helpers?” Do you know any flight attendants she could talk to? Maybe call the local EMT and see if you can bring the kids by to see the ambulance and talk to an EMT, or police officer at the station. I’ve never met anyone in any if these positions who wasn’t eager to chat up a little kid. Seeing that there are REAL life helpers out there addressing her fears might ease her mind.

    • I got caught in Jenni Rivera Universal City traffic yesterday and when I finally reached my destination near the Beverly Center, there were 4 helicopters flying low. At least one was a police copter. Too much drama.

  8. So just my own quick vent: so my own experience of having a gun pointed at me has come up in conversation in the last few days. I am getting damn tired of being told I should have been carrying a gun myself, that I “need to take responsibility for your own safety.” I didn’t know I was being attacked until he pulled the gun and cocked it as he brought it up and it was a foot from my face. You know what they call someone who pulls a gun in response to that?
    People seem to have this delusion that somehow a firearm will help them in that situation. The truth is, unless you’re pulling it out every time you see someone nearby, just in case, carrying a firearm will not help you. It’ll probably result in your own death. Arguing for more guns remains just one of the dumbest things. More guns at home, more guns at school, more guns in the mall, they don’t help. And arguing they do is, IMO, blaming the victim. And, while my own story is so minor in comparison to what has happened, I am so [insert expletive here] tired of being blamed.

    • No, they are wrong. Who the fuck takes a gun to walk the dog??? I refuse to accept that we need to pack heat “just in case.” What nonsense. Sorry this is coming back up for you.

      • You know, it didn’t bother me the first time around, even though I got it from a few people, that I should get a concealed carry permit. If anything it’s not that it’s about me that pisses me off, it’s the fact that it feels like it’s about other people. About the kids and the teachers and the folks who lost their lives. And it’s frustrating because the suggestion after what I’ve experienced just feels so naïve. Infantile, even. I just want to tell these folks “you’re not Rambo, and I’m not either.” It’s like they’re off in some fantasy land rather than making a realistic assessment of what could or could not happen.

  9. I haven’t talked about with DS although DH and I are watching and listening to him to see if anything comes up. Also I don’ t know if it’s where I live but there seems to be an unspoken agreement amongst everyone not to talk about it which I appreciate since it is basically in my thoughts all day and I need to focus on my life.

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