Do you often feel as if (whatever screen you are looking at) is screaming back at you, “What do you believe?!”

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Personally, I believe in love and kindness. That is my simple truth. I hold onto the smell of my children’s hair, the touch of their hand, and the sweet bliss of them sleeping when I’m lucky. There is nothing else I believe in more, or find more salient in the proof of human kindness, than their existence in this world. That said, they drive me batshit crazy at least 90% of my day. That proves to me the balance of the universe as well. Quite often what you love, believe, and hold dearest is the most vulnerable spot you have when it comes to others questioning your beliefs.

I know, it’s sappy and trite to some but there it is for my own opinion. I’m interpreted as an atheist by some but in truth I’m an omnitheist. I don’t believe any one religion can answer the mysteries of the universe with their one discrete set of ideology anymore than I can riddle out why the Kardashians are worshipped or taffy was created. Some things I just accept as a mystery. Until you can prove to me otherwise, I’ll believe that anything is possible as long as it is scientifically plausible. (They say that squirrels can technically fly… ok!)

So many of the messages we hear via the media are thinly guised rhetoric as part of a presidential platform, a special interest mission, or a parent’s plea to the ethereal global courtroom of the internet to save other parents from their plight.

The plight of mourning yet another untimely set of deaths from a mass shooting. The plight of a family whose faith in humanity was torn asunder by the senseless brutality of another human against their child in “a moment” of thoughtless violence. The plight of a family, a set of parents, who thought they were giving their child an indelible memory of bliss that turned tragic in one instance. Whether it’s a gunman in a club, a rapist on a college campus, or an alligator simply waiting for prey as it rests in the dark of the evening waters. We cannot protect ourselves from every possibility in life without leaving ourselves paralyzed in fear.

You cannot, and should not, protect yourself and those you love from every possibility of harm or misfortune because your whole life would become as miserable as the potential outcome you are trying to avoid.

There, within the vitriol of the misogynistic slurs against rape survivors and those targeted by gunman, there is the truth of violence. Those that want to dismiss the brutality of their actions or the reality of the abominations will blame it on the victim. They shouldn’t have congregated in the same nightclub…She shouldn’t have drank so much at a party…Those parents should have known better, walking at night in Florida near the water…

Living in 20/20 hindsight is the definition of paralyzing yourself with anxiety. (I should know.) You cannot, and should not, protect yourself and those you love from every possibility of harm or misfortune because your whole life would become as miserable as the potential outcome you are trying to avoid.

Nightclubs are awesome, guns are bad, drinking is fun, parties are great, being stupid in your twenties is awesome, rapists are BAD, heroes that save someone in a questionable situation are LOVELY, and parents… Parents, we get the shitty end of the stick. Any day in our lives could be criticized and dissected for flaws in our decision-making process but the reality is that no one can accurately gauge the full extent of our miscalculations until it’s too late. Again, in 20/20 hindsight.

So to those that are patting themselves on the back that they never got shot when they went to a club, got raped at a party, or had their child snatched by a wild animal at a theme park – bravo. Random luck and fate have favored you. Telling yourself you have “good sense” or are entitled to escaping bad fortune is like painting a bullseye on your back in my book.

That one moment of good luck doesn’t give you the right to support hate mongers, perpretrators, or internet trolls; however, it does entitle you to breathe easy and thank the universe that you were lucky… that one time. Hold that hand of the one you love close to you. Hold onto it and breathe in their scent for that one moment and try to remember it as tightly as you can without scaring them about the possibilities that might lie ahead for them in life.

Life can be ugly because people can be ugly. The world can be scary because others want to inflict harm to make you feel their pain for one tiny moment. And parenthood? Well, it’s the scariest scenario of them all; because, sometimes your love and beliefs are meaningless in protecting your children from the fears and beliefs of others.

Hold that little hand tightly but not too tight. We can’t protect them from living this beautiful, unpredictable life without embracing the risks as well.

(But watch out for flying rodents and taffy…seriously, it’s the stuff of nightmares. Like clowns and Kardashians, all fun and games until they’re in front of you.)

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