This last week has been tough.

I took a spontaneous hiatus in the days after the shooting in Uvalde. As much as I craved information, as feverish as I was about helping to make change, I also just wanted to be with my family. I wanted to focus on small things and not subject myself to the endless black hole of social media and the news cycle.

So we went to the woods, walked in the forest where I grew up, fed grass to the neighborhood goats, foraged, watched vintage Loony Toons, made some yummy meals (and some others that just got the job done), drank a lot of tea, and rested.

It can be tempting in times like this, to self-soothe by crafting a narrative about how what happened there couldn’t happen here, couldn’t happen to us, couldn’t happen now. It can be easy to melt into the seeming safety of the comfy Cascadia culture bubble. But this time (how incredibly sad that this is but one “time” in a sequence of many), I found it impossible to concoct a protective narrative. The reality is that, in this country, this happens everywhere, to everyone, in every context and circumstance. It happened to them and next time it could very well happen to me, to us. Next time it could be my child.

What do we do with that knowledge, as parents? How do we move forward in good faith? How do we keep doing what we are doing without becoming paralyzed by fear, without paralyzing our children with a fear of their own, one with which they certainly don’t deserve to be burdened?

The only answer I have: we just do. We focus on doing the best we can, on making the best choices we can, on preparing them as well as we can, on raising our kids to be kind and empathetic today because they will be the decision-makers of tomorrow. They will be the ones setting the standards around guns, mental health, social responsibility, community, and so much more. They need us not to harden their hearts so they will make those decisions from fear and self-service, but to open them, so they will lead with compassion.

I know the parents of the kids who were senselessly killed in Uvalde were doing their best too. They were raising good kids, to do good things. With their loss, we’ve all lost.

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