When my son was born, I looked down at him, tiny and warm and safe in my arms, and thought what a wonder he was. Somehow, another perfect little creature had come, seemingly out of nowhere, into our lives, nudging the little girl at the center of my world just a little bit over, wriggling in to make room for himself.
He seemed so tiny. The world around him was so big, and so full of possibilities, but he was small, and I could hold him in my arms, and keep him safe.
Now he’s nine. He loves subway trains and Civilization and Doctor Who. He reads Percy Jackson on his Kindle, sometimes when he is supposed to be sleeping. He has crooked glasses and curly hair. He speaks French and can reluctantly play the piano.
He’s still young enough to be safe and sure in the knowledge that his mommy will always be there to protect him.
My son pretends to believe in the tooth fairy because he’s pretty sure I do and he doesn’t want to hurt my feelings. He reminds me to get half-and-half at the store. He’s serious, and funny, and so sincere that, sometimes, he tells on himself.
When he is scared, he looks for me.
Every time — I can’t believe I have to say every time — every time another mother’s little boy is killed by people sworn to protect him, all I can think is how scared that little boy must have been.
How very, very scared.
How he was once a scared little boy, padding down a dark hallway to climb in next to his mommy.
And how he died that way.
Could you take a minute, please, today, to think about all the mothers like me, holding and comforting their sons, who are just little boys, even when they are nine, even when they are nineteen? Holding them, and comforting their fears, while we are more frightened than they could ever imagine?
Please think about how you would feel. What would you tell your son?
How would you ever let him go?