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May 26

When there are no words

I’m feeling this sense of disgust and rapidly moving into apathy. My kids aren’t traumatized by the school shooting, because it’s normal for them. And I can’t figure out if that’s healthy or not. Because would I rather them be terrified? Or accepting? These are kids who grew up knowing that people don’t care if they get sick, they won’t wear a mask or get vaccinated to keep them safe, they don’t trust society, and why would they? We wonder why anxiety and depression numbers are so high, but of course they are.

I wonder, simply as a thought exercise, what this generation of kids is going to know about human beings. What America is going to mean to them. If I’m feeling disillusioned and enraged and disgusted, and I grew up feeling patriotic and safe, will they feel… anything? How do you connect with a country where this happens? How do you go through the past few years of telling them that they need to be afraid of getting sick, nobody is being careful except for us, and we can’t trust anyone to not be sick, and then expect them to feel like they’re a part of a greater society? How do you get used to the idea that you might be gunned down in the middle of science class and nobody really cares? At least not enough, not enough to change anything. God forbid we lose the right to bear arms.

I’m without words at this point. I’m trying so hard to raise healthy kids, ones who aren’t riddled with depression and anxiety, and I’m all alone in this. The greater society – my village, if you will – doesn’t care about my kids. They won’t keep them safe, and they won’t sacrifice to make it better for them. My kids, all kids, are on their own. And they know that. That’s why Julie is very matter of fact about the school shooting in Texas. “Why would I be worried, Mom? These things happen all the time, they’ve been happening my whole life.” She’s not wrong – and given that she’s already such a bundle of anxiety and stress, the last thing I want to do is add to it. Maybe it’s the same as getting in a car – we know we could be in a terrible accident, but most of the time, we’re fine. We go places in the car all the time. Going to school is mostly the same thing for them.

Maybe all this angst around school shootings is for us – for them, this is normal. This is life in America in 2022. We, as parents, are terrified and upset and raging, but nobody actually does anything. The laws haven’t changed, we don’t do anything, and eventually, it’ll settle back down, and we’ll forget. We won’t always have it front and center in our minds. But for our kids? This is just another day.

And I really don’t know if that isn’t better than feeling disgusted and enraged. Because nothing is changing.

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