If you have watched any nature program, or these days gone on Instagram once or twice, the one thing you are almost guaranteed to see is an animal mother protecting it’s child. We exclaim, praise, watch in fascination as these animals instinctively guard their most precious possession. And while eventually, in this cruel world those animals will be separated from their mothers to live their own lives, their is no mistaking mother nature’s true purpose when it comes to the bond of a mother and child. Watch orangutans, elephants, polar bears, cheetahs and tell me what happens when their young is threatened.
We live in a world where are our own children are being put at enormous risk. That risk may be defined by the mother herself but it is real and it is powerful. There is an old saying about cornering a man who has nothing to lose; I dare you to see what happens when someone comes between a mother and her child. It is not a sacrifice. It is not a funny tidbit to share on social media; it is a very real danger – the mother who will protect her child. Children die; it’s a fact of life. But the danger does not lie in the death but in the life of the mother.
I am tired of the dangers that my children are confronted with these days. I am tired that there is no time for them to learn math or history because they have bomb threats, a contagious virus that others don’t understand or even appreciate, a gun picked up from the bedside table of the very people that are supposed to protect them. Our children are being neglected in our own demands for rights, or our own determination to reach some pinnacle that literally will never be celebrated outside our own minds. Some moms fight with their breaths and their claws others sit by and do nothing. And while this danger, that is coming from every area of the world whether it be through the thin veil of conspiracy theories or the lack of common sense preventions measures means, exists. And if you are a mother who can’t see it, then one questions your ability to even know what motherhood is.
Motherhood is not for the weak or the faint. It is not for the self-centered or the idiocy of a mob. It is not for those who don’t know what their child’s favorite color is or what their child’s greatest dream is. It is not for someone who can’t cry in shear terror or in the aftermath of a danger that didn’t materialize. Motherhood isn’t a game for someone to get on TV. It isn’t a club that you can join because you have no respect for anyone else. It is not a fight against the good but a fight against the very evil this world is inundated with. I am the first to admit that while I don’t agree with many of these mother’s stances these days when it comes to the protection of their children, I can at least acknowledge that in their stupidity they are doing what they feel is right to protect what they love.
Love is a weak word when it comes to mothers and their children. It doesn’t cover the depth of emotion and the value of what we have. Love is for spouses, for country, for friends. It is not the word to describe what a mother feels to her child. I can’t speak for fathers; I am not one. But I know that there aren’t words to describe my children to you. There are no words to make you understand what lengths I would actually go to in order to protect that which I love more than my own life. While I may occasionally wonder if I have the guts to stand in front of a bullet for my child it is only because the truth of what I would do for my child is encoded so deeply into my DNA that I literally can’t see it.
I am tired of only feeling relief when my child is in my own arms. I am tired of the stress of sending my children to school when masks are treated as if they are flip flops on a kid’s foot. I am tired of the pictures of my children running for cover when a bomb threat is called into their school. I am tired of the drills, the media’s culpability, and our leaders inability to understand that defenseless children belong in our laws, in our rights and in our actions. I am tired of the outside world determining the safety of my child.
It doesn’t mean I will give up the fight. It doesn’t mean that I will quit on my child. I can be tired and still make sure to protect them with every bit of arsenal available to me. And I, a lover of history in all it’s forms, understands that the dangers to our children may have evolved but they have always been there. Our children are no more safe in this world than they were two hundred years ago. There is no place for them to go to be perfectly safe. There is no life path to guarantee that they will die in their sleep when they are a hundred years old and I am long gone. There is no safety net for our children, there has never been a safety net capable to catch and hold that which we love most in this world.
But I am still tired. But most of all, I am tired of being alone. I am tired of fighting for my children against tides that no one taught me where dangers. I am tired of struggling to give my children a life outside of any fear, when I can only feel fear in all it’s destructive glory. I am tired of losing friends because I can’t guarantee that they have any interest in protecting the children a heaven has produced. I am tired of watching the news and seeing people who have no children fight for freedoms that are not theirs. I am tired of working so hard on myself, to better myself for my children, only to be stomped down by the world in which we live. What is the point of being a better mother if you can’t fight the forces that are destroying that which you hold so closely. There is no air between me and my child; there can never be air between us because I can’t live like that.
There are so many forces to fight. There are so many people to cut out of your life. And still the insidious danger remains. What is so wrong with your child wearing a piece of cloth that helps to protect your child? What is so wrong with stopping the buying and selling of guns and printed instructions to build a bomb? What is so wrong with not selling pills to our children on your platforms? What is so wrong with giving our children a chance to flourish and become more than we are.
I will end with a note of optimism; I have met many of the children that are coming up in the next generation. And while there are always bad apples, it is these children, who thrive despite the horror they must face, that keep me hoping that tomorrow will look more like Star Trek and less like a Marvel movie. Until they can go on their own journey in this world; I will try my best to get sleep despite the nightmares that keep me up.