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I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active 10 year old (Robby) and an mischievous toddler (Timmy). I have learned that being a parent with a disability can create some unusual and sometimes humorous situations. This blogger is available for hire! Let's talk and learn how a blog can expand your business.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Explaining Colorado

Like everybody else, I woke up Saturday morning horrified to hear about the events that transpired in Colorado. The hate or derangement that fueled the assassin is something that I simply cannot fathom. My heart broke as I was watched the television, and I became transfixed on the stories of the survivors.

I turned the channel to cartoons as soon as Robby woke up because I wanted to shield him from the random violence that was being replayed on television. If I can't wrap my head around what happened, I knew that it was unrealistic to expect a six year old to make sense of it!

Despite my efforts, Robby learned of the story. I came into the living room yesterday and he was watching CNN. He looked at me with his big brown eyes and told me that "a bad man killed people at the movies." I knew that we had two options: I could turn off the television and try to dismiss the story, or I could take the opportunity to discuss and teach. The latter was the more difficult choice, but I also knew that it was the right thing to do.

I packed up Robby and we drove for ice cream. For some reason our best heart-to-heart conversations seem to flow easiest when we both have a cone in hand. Sitting at the picnic table at the ice cream stand, I took a deep breath and started to talk.

I began by asking Robby to recount what he saw on television. He explained that a man went into a movie with a "really big gun and shot people dead." He also pondered that it was a Batman movie but that Batman wasn't there because he would have stopped that bad man.

I took the lead in the conversation and tried to explain that sometimes bad things happen. We don't know why the man killed those people, but he is in jail and can't hurt anybody else. I stressed that he is safe and that we will always try to protect him. He seemed unimpressed and focused on his ice cream cone throughout my well-rehearsed speech.

After a moment he looked at me and asked, "Momom, what day did those people die?" I answered that it happened on Friday night when he was in bed sleeping.  "Well Momom, if they died on Friday, what day will it be when I die?" He looked at me intently and was waiting for an answer.

Yikes! I was anticipated questions, but I was not prepared for this one. Lacking any wise insights into how to respond, I found myself stumbling for words. I don't remember my Mom ever struggling to explain anything when I was young!

Robby finished his ice cream cone and crawled onto my lap. I kissed his head and told him that he didn't have to worry about dying for a very long time. He asked again what day it will be when he dies. I knew he wanted an answer, so I finally told him that it will be the day he gets to fly with angels.

Thankfully, the mere reference to flying was enough to turn the topic. He seemed satisfied and began to chat about the flying dragons and wanting a new kite. I know that he won't always be this easy to calm and distract, but I'm relieved that in this case it worked!

My heart breaks for the victims in Colorado. I can't fathom the pain and anguish that is being felt. My maternal instinct is to pack up Robby and Scott and run to a safe place, somewhere away from society where nobody can harm us. Of course, this isn't a realistic option. All I can really do is shield him from all of the evil that seems to be reported on a regular basis, arming him with love and trying to make his little corner of the world safe and happy.

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