I remember when I was a kid we used to have bomb drills in school. We would have to go to the hallway and sit facing the wall, curled up with our heads touching our knees. I am still not sure how this would have protected us from a nuclear bomb, but it made me anxious every time we had to do it. My mom would assure me every day that nothing was going to happen to me and that she would never send me anywhere that could be unsafe. Maybe I was naive or maybe the Cold War was too big to understand, but I truly believed her when she said I would be all right. This morning, when I woke up to headlines of what happened in Manchester, England last night at the Ariana Grande concert, I went through a range of emotions.
Overwhelming sadness – For the victims and their families, for parents who still do not know where their children are, for the first responders who will never be the same again.
Anger – At a perpetrator who targeted young people, at a world where people can hate so much that they choose to become a suicide bomber.
Anxiousness – Will I ever be able to send my kids out into the world with the surety that they will be safe? How will I feel the next time I get on an airplane, go to a concert, or go to the mall?
Fear – Is there anywhere left where something cannot happen – a movie theater, a concert, a sporting event? How can we just live our lives knowing that incidents such as this are becoming more common?
As all of these feelings swam through my head today, I thought about that pit I felt in my stomach after 9/11. After Sandy Hook. After too many other incidents to name. My job as a mom is to keep my kids safe, but I cannot put them in a bubble. They have to go to school. We will still go to baseball games, amusement parks, and museums; will still take subways and buses. Resilience is taught when you don’t let these things stop you from living your life, even if you feel like you are looking over your shoulder a little more often.