We’re in Florida and it’s everywhere. She catches something on the news and asks me what happened. I give her only a slightly toned down version of the truth. I don’t want to do it. I want to distract her with talk of vacation and swimming and sunshine but this is the world she lives in and I can’t have her be unprepared. I will give her awareness because it’s the only defense I know. I will tell her to run, to hid, to use her senses and above all else protect herself.
She saw the gun. “But Mommy, why would a kid have that gun? That’s worse than a Star Wars gun. How do people other than police have that? She’s asking smart, legit questions that I don’t know how to answer and my brain switches to the Board I serve on to help enrich our schools and I want to scream FUCK THE ROBOTS THAT ENCOURAGE MATH SEQUENCING LET’S RAISE MONEY FOR ARMED GUARDS AND METAL DETECTORS INSTEAD!” This thought makes me cry because it’s militant and unfair to an entire generation of kids and I’m wondering where we went wrong but she’s tugging on my shirt so I kneel down.
“What if I can’t get away?” she asks innocently and what I don’t say is “Then I will lay my body next to yours and beg them not to wake me” but what I do say is “I have faith, baby, that you will never have to be in this situation. I also have faith, that if you are, you will be okay.”
This satisfies her for now. But I’m not satisfied. I’m not even close.