So much tragedy. It’s hard being a parent right now. Tragedy everywhere. May is graduation and prom for most colleges and high schools. It is supposed to be a reminder of the future. Your life begins once you leave those hallways. Or so it is assumed.
I read the horrific story earlier this month about an 8 year old boy named Gabriel Taye that had killed himself two days after being bullied. He was 8. A baby. The same age as my son.
The story last week of Kingston Frazier who was 6 years old and had been shot. His mother ran into the store at 1:15 a.m. and left her car running and the keys in it. Why? I couldn’t figure out why she would do that until I realized that her child was sleeping and it was probably hot outside and she wanted the air to run to keep him cool. Her car was stolen by three teenage boys. Her son was murdered.
The story of Lt. Richard Collins III who was murdered on the campus of my Alma Mater. No reason. Waiting for an Uber with some friends at the bus stop. A white student unprovoked attacked and killed him. Collins was a model student who was just commissioned as a second lieutenant. Set to graduate from another college three days after being murdered. Model citizen.
What do all these people have in common? They are all dead. They are all boys. Two were murdered by other people. They are all black.
As a mother, my heart breaks as I think about my son growing up and leaving the safe confines of my house. Is it unreasonable? Nope. Given the state of this country, I would argue that it is very reasonable. I worry when he exits my home and goes to school. Schools aren’t safe anymore. Sandy Hook reminded me of that.
I worry because of the color of his skin. That beautiful caramel colored skin is a badge of honor. A combining of complexions of his father and I that reproduced and created this gorgeous melanin he proudly wears. I love it, but I monitor his toys. No toy guns. They are not safe. Tamir Rice reminded me of that.
I worry because he is sensitive. Too sensitive. He cares about other children, but I’m trying to thicken his skin. Teach him how to trash talk. Teach him how to defend himself. To stand for right and be a good human being. But, he’s experienced bullying. No matter how much you try to protect your children they may fall victim to bullying. Bullies can hurt you beyond belief. Gabriel Taye’s death reminded me of that.
Do I overreact and not let him play in the neighborhood? Yep. Do I live in a bad neighborhood? Nope. But, I don’t trust strangers. Not with my Munch. I don’t leave him in the car. He begs to stay sometimes. He doesn’t like going in the store. Fear grips me but I make him come. Someone could steal the car, take it. I don’t care. Not my son though. So, I never leave him alone. We have to be vigilant about protecting our children. Kingston Frazier reminded me that my being overprotective is not in vain.
All the things that I can give and experiences I can provide that will make him a well rounded young man may not help him. I’m already looking into the top high schools in the area. A better opportunity. A future. A chance to go to college and make something of yourself. You are better than you think and smarter than you’ll ever know. Be of good character. Stay out of trouble. Pray. Give it to God. Lead by example. All those things may not be enough. Lt. Richard Collins III taught me that.
These are perilous times. So many tragedies. So many parents having to bury their children. It’s not supposed to be that way. We are supposed to smile as our children get married. Laugh and love on our grandchildren. Be their support system when bad things happen. We’re not supposed to bury our children. We’re not supposed to pick out suits or a coffin.
Life isn’t fair. I know this. Tragedy happens everywhere. I get this. But, oh I pray for better days. We need them.