The steady noise of hustled perfection filled the air as our screen door continued to slam. Generations of relatives traveled in and out of our home this particular July morning as the sun beamed through my bedroom window. I sat at the edge of the bed, hand in hand with new daddy-to-be, both soaking in the exciting commotion downstairs. With our heads bowed, we stared at our classy shoes and prayed for our unborn baby. In unity, we whispered "Amen" than released our fears into each other's arms. Both new parents and fearful of the unknown, we laid our trust in God and leaped into parenthood. That afternoon, we celebrated the soon arrival of our first son.
Seven months pregnant and filled with emotions, I remember that particular morning for the clarity and simplicity that still existed. The amount of effort and love that went in to that afternoon merriment was so particularly crafted and detailed, I remember thinking "this is a baby shower fit for a prince." Friends and relatives scheduled and traveled to be a part of this festivity purposely making time for this miracle baby... time basically stopped as we vowed to protect and love our new child.
Four years have passed since that joyful afternoon; countless moments celebrated since. Quickly after being lured into the delivery room for our second son, we established that prayers of well-wishes for our boys was a priority. The oath to protect as parents could not be more serious and yet, we watch headline after headline of children in the media. Our hearts bleed pain as we substitute this happening to one of our own. It could very well be, after all those kids who are missing, abused, molested, bullied or even killed have parents who took the same oath.
The fear a parent feels is more intense than anything that could have scared us before their birth. Our children's pain hurts us 10 times more than them, and we prefer it that way. There is a parental connection I could never comprehend as a child that surprises me still today. I remember days that I'd fall during recess while my father who worked clear across the Hudson in Time Square would stand, feeling my pain. His mentioning this over dinner always stunned me, but now, I know how... because I feel my boys' pain too.
I write this article not to vent about our children, but to breathe life into parents. The daily news frightens me and my effort to trust society. How can we protect our children from events that we have no control over? Who can read this and not respond?
• The Bullying epidemic in our country is at a repulsive rate. Children committing suicide before puberty?
• Domestic violence cases prove children grow up as potential abusers
• Too many unprotected weapons killing innocent children as a result of lack of simple precautions
• Careless chaperones oblivious to a helpless child leaving a secured school consequential in an unsuccessful two-week search
• School-wide shootings victimizing students and teachers
Parents, the oath was real and we do have control. That moment in my bedroom is a dream we all share for our children, the vision of school yards filled with laughter, innocence and opportunity. Defining our role as caregivers at home sets an example for our children and demands boundaries from others. Ask yourself this, "How can I further my commitment to my children and reshape their destiny providing the safety of yours too ?"
Here is my Parental Oath: As a mom, I vow to teach my sons manners, respect and love in my home. I promise to guide them through life understanding their needs and differences. I will provide an open line of communication, trust and safety thus hoping they will carry these lessons through life and reciprocate these valuable lessons on those they encounter. I vow to protect my children and yours.