|Candles light up the memorials of the victims of the CT shooting.|
I, like you, have been staring at the television the past few days trying to organize, file, and store the tragedy that occurred on Friday morning.
There are no words...I wonder how many times that has been written on the internet the past few days. Or, "our hearts go out", or "condolences"... We try to form sentences to say, but we cannot.
Just this morning, I read a post from a mother who struggles with a son with violent tendencies. Her blog post can be found here.
It is a poignant, open, and honest column about the real life struggles of what some of us live with as we deal with children who run against the grain of life. I was so glad to see this woman (who seems to have a big following) have the courage to show her 'underbelly'.
I do not want to speculate on unknown facts surrounding the motive of this shooter. I do not want to try to piece together what may or may not have happened in the life of this guy or the life of his mother. From all accounts, it sounds like his mom was just like me- just living life, having friends, decorating for Christmas, making dinner, checking off her list of stuff she needed to get done.
I bet she did not have this ending written down. She would have never known the evil capabilities of her son. A son that, in her mind, was someone she loved- maybe to her he was just her quirky, little guy. We may never know.
With all the talk on the tv from 'experts' and pundits about blame and what is happening to our society, I began thinking about what my responsibility is in this life. What am I held accountable for? I am responsible for myself and the actions I take. And, I am responsible for my two boys. The government is not responsible for us, we are. The organizations I am a part of are not responsible for us, we are.
I, too, have a son that is different from most of his peers. He has difficulty making friends, social interactions are forced and hard, and his capacity for empathy is severely lacking. It took me a few years to accept this realization, but I had to. Because, he is my son. He belongs to no one else on this earth but me.
And part of that responsibility piece is for me to know my son to the best of my ability. Some days it is difficult to know what in the world is going on in that little head of his. He is fascinating and curious. He is difficult and lovable- many times all at once. He is quirky, funny, but sometimes he is downright mean and abusive.
Some days I feel like the worst parent in the world, and other days I shrug my shoulders and say, 'only by the grace of God go I'. But, my guess is that most of us feel that way. Sometimes we are high-fiving ourselves internally (or externally, which looks really weird), and other days we are bludgeoning ourselves with shame and doubt.
But, it is most imperative that I know my children. There are sometimes two different rule books in my house- one for Walker and one for Liam. This may seem unfair to the outside world, but I have learned that I must parent these two very differently. My son Walker is allowed to play video games with warcraft in it, and Liam is not. Liam is 'allowed' to be a picky eater at dinner time, and Walker is not. At one time, Walker was allowed to have a smart phone/iPod, but now neither can have one until they are on their own.
These are a few of the working rules in our household. For now, they work. But, I may have to be willing to change directions at any given point in time.
One of the hardest things to do as a parent is being willing to admit that our children are capable of great evil. Who wants to dwell on that???!! NO ONE!
We all have these skewed views of our precious, little ones.
"Not my little guy, nope, he is the most generous, tender-hearted one of the bunch."
"REALLY? Because I just saw your generous one give a generous shove to my son on the playground."
Yep. This is a tough one. I don't want to admit that my kids are capable of evil because I believe they are an extension of me. And then, I would have to be willing to look at the evil in my own heart. All the little murderous things I do in my own heart when someone pulls in MY parking place. Or, when someone (as happened yesterday) cuts me in line at Target. Or, when a friend calls to share about her ex-husband's mind games, I am thinking of people that could break his kneecaps.
I won't go on and on. You're a smart bunch. But, as the woman said in the aforementioned blog post:
God help me. God help [her son]. God help us all.