My first born was about six weeks old when the Columbine High School shooting massacre took place in 1999. As one remembers meaningful events, I too recall exactly where I was when I learned about it. I was living in California at the time, rocking my daughter to sleep for her morning nap. Though only a new mother, my heart had already sustained the inalterable transformation that a mother’s heart will once their children are born. It is impossible to articulate though once crossing into motherhood, a woman is never the same. The plight of anyone’s child is felt as she knows her own child could be subject to the same fate.
I had the TV on and news of the shooting came on. I was in utter disbelief that such peril existed in the world let alone at the hands of children and befalling children. My child lay sleeping in my arms but some day I knew she would not be with me at all times and my mind sped forward in time imagining the horror of such an occurrence.
Later that year we moved just outside of Washington D.C. I spent my second Mother’s Day participating in the first Million Mom March for Gun Control on the National Mall. Be clear, I’m not political nor am I an activist by nature but I am also one who cannot bear to sit by if there is anything I can do to aid in such wrong doing being avoided in the future. The mall was full with families like my own, all heeding the call to do all possible to never see another event like Columbine. The mission was a passionate one but not militant. The goal merely seeking better gun control legislation to prevent a similar episode of ever happening again.
The roster was full of speakers broadcast on large screens for all attendees to see. Mothers who had lost children due to gun violence spoke. For me the empathetic grief made it almost unbearable to listen. I could not fathom from where their courage sprang to speak so steadfastly about what was undoubtedly the most unthinkable fate a mother could bear. I have a chilling memory of one of the mothers announcing to those in attendance that ‘the hand that rocks the cradle is watching’ (…those in politics) and how you ‘never want to piss off a mother.’
I don’t think anyone was untouched by the news of the Sandy Point elementary school shooting in Newton Connecticut last Friday. Regardless of one’s politics or position on gun ownership, I cannot believe anyone would condone 6 and 7 year old babies being gunned down at point blank range. I found myself daring to imagine what they would have faced. What it would have been like for them to have a deranged young man shoot them individually or to watch it happen to a tablemate. What their thoughts would have been. How scared they must have been. How at their age the concept of darkness and evil does not even enter their consciousness outside of farfetched nursery rhymes.
As mothers we are a fierce tribe. Whether protecting our own or the future of the nation’s children. I have never felt the depths of the wildness of my own soul as strongly as when pondering someone doing harm to my children. The mothers of the Sandy Point Elementary school victims cannot do for themselves now, they must tend to their own grief. We, however can. I do not know the answer or the course of action. I only know we must band together to change things to never see another day like last Friday.
As food and crafting bloggers many have come together today in a moment of silence in deference to those directly suffering the losses of last week’s shooting. Though I too have suspended regular sharing of food, I wanted to share my voice as a call for action. Even the smallest of souls can make a difference. We must, together, find a way.