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Being Carly

I am Every Mom: A Post About Sad Things

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I have a different post that’s supposed to be going up today. It’s all edited and ready to go. I just…when bad things happen I have a hard time immediately publishing my little suburbanite stories sometimes. It feels disrespectful or maybe like I’m saying that whatever happened didn’t matter to me. At the same time, I’m not the kind of blogger that would cover current events in depth. I don’t have breaking news for you. I don’t have an inside scoop. I don’t have critical political theories that will blow your mind. If you wanted to learn what’s going on in the world, I’m never going to be your first stop.

But.

When the news broke about Orlando, I found out about it really early here in Salt Lake City thanks to a flurry of Twitter action from my Disney-related cyber friends on the East coast. The details were weird in the beginning and didn’t seem like they could possibly be right, but by the time I woke up completely all of the news cameras had been there for hours and none of the bad numbers they kept sharing were getting any smaller. It was awful and sad and the loops of footage were the same on every website and I kept wanting the information to be different but it just wasn’t.

And then there was the mom.

They did her interview early but she had already been outside the hospital for hours, waiting for information about her son. The cameras caught her mid-panic, showing her when she had just as much information as we did, so all we could do was watch her try to hold it together while she talked about her son and trying to reach him on his cell phone and how she couldn’t understand how it was all happening.

I thought about her all day. When Calvin stumbled into my bed around lunchtime and was all damp with toddler sweat and had that apple juice stink about him, I thought, “Her son probably did this. He probably came in and was just disgusting in the best way ever and she probably cuddled him anyway and curled him against her and wrapped her hands around his sweaty puppy feet because it’s such a short amount of time that you can get your kid’s whole foot to still fit in your hand.”

When Eva bugged me to read her a book and then got bored a page in because she actually wanted to read this other book she had just remembered, I thought, “She did this. She tried to read to a kid that was so excited about the reading that he forgot to hold still long enough for the reading to happen. She read the first two or three pages of lots of books. She read the same book over and over. She tried to read the books with the same voices and pace every time so he could jump in if he wanted to. She watched his little finger try to find the words she’d just read.”

And, two hours behind the Eastern time zone, I eventually went to bed and while Kyle slept I looked at news stories, saw that she still had no news, and then I laid in the dark and cried for her son. And I realized that she had done the same thing and if she hadn’t, she would soon.

I read sad mom stories when I find them online. I cry for babies who get sick, for kids who accidentally step into the path of speeding cars, and for families who don’t get to live in places that let their children be safe. This week, I shared a story about a mom who woke up to her daughter having passed in an upstairs bedroom and that story was shared over and over and over again. A lot of the sharing was because it was a home accident and sharing could prevent it from happening to someone else, but I know that some was just because you’d want someone to share it if it was your baby.

I have cried over news stories for as long as I can remember, but the mom ones do hit harder now. I’m so sad for all of those moms in Orlando. I’m sad for the moms who are at the hospital just waiting to see if healing will happen. I’m sad for the moms of the other people at the club who got phone calls from their frightened adult children, safe but traumatized. I’m sad for the moms of LGBT kids who now have to repeat over and over again that there are so so so many people who don’t want to harm them at all. I’m sad for the moms of people who have been involved in other shootings, who are now asking again why more isn’t being done to stop this violence.

And I’m very sad for the mom who was interviewed yesterday, who had to wait until this morning to find out that her son didn’t survive. I wish I could do something for her, but because I can’t I went and found other things I can do:

Donate to Equity Florida, the state’s LGBT civil rights organization

Look into donating blood or plasma in your area in tribute to the victims

Check Facebook to see if a local vigil will be happening

Think about how you’ll talk to your kids about what has happened

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