Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Searching For A Child-- Searching For An Answer

"Where's my kid?"

How many of us have ever asked that question? 

Perhaps it was while you were shopping at the mall and you were looking for that dress on the mannequin that caught your eye, but was not in your size? 

Or perhaps you were at the market and the tomatoes looked great, but you were searching for just the right one--not too soft or too hard.

And you became distracted. For what probably was a minute...or two.

And you looked up and what you thought was your little girl or boy standing next to you was not. And that question, “Where’s my kid?” came spewing out of your mouth, and for the split second or so that you went searching...as your stomach jerked and your head pounded...and your heart raced....

I had what I liked to call a “wanderer.” My older son was always a little headstrong and had to be watched like a hawk whenever we would go out. I even bought one of those children’s leashes for him, but couldn’t bring myself to use it. So there was a time or two when I looked and looked for him only to find him sitting deep within clothing racks, playing, And once I remember racing out of a store to find him happily sitting on a bench next to what might have been the smelliest and dirtiest homeless man in the city.

While those few times that I ran from parent to parent, child to child, searching, lasted next to nothing (but felt like an eternity), and thankfully ended happily, I can vividly remember the sheer, raw terror I felt as I looked for him. 

So, when I heard the horrific news about the slaughter of the children and their teachers in Newtown, Connecticut last week, my first thoughts were of the parents and how they felt as they drove and ran through the streets and parking lots wondering where their children were. I empathized with them as I watched them pile into the firehouse. How utterly heartbreaking it must have been as they ran past children who had already been reunited with their own parents. How utterly heart wrenching it must have been as they passed more and more families hugging and clinging to each other, still not knowing the fate of their own children. 

And for some--for 20 moms and 20 dads, to be exact--their searches did not end as happily as mine. The reality slammed into them like a freight train, and I grieve for them and for those innocent souls, those little sitting ducks, and their teachers who were lost. We are a country in mourning...once again. And even though it seems like it, we must not make a habit of it. Let it end here. Let this be the last lesson that teaches us we need more control...over guns, over mental health care. 

A school day should end with a child happily running out of the building, trying to maneuver newly drawn pictures on pieces of construction paper in one hand, while clumsily clutching sweaters and backpacks and lunch boxes in the other. It shouldn't end in a hale of bullets. 

 Robert Kennedy once spoke very eloquently of “the mindless menace of violence.” And then he too became a victim of exactly that. We are angry and while the wound is still raw, we must not let that anger dissipate, but put it to good use. Speak out--to your legislators, to your public policymakers.

We can no longer take the happy days for granted. We must stop the mindless menace of violence.

Let it end here. Let it end now. 

If you are on Twitter, please follow the hashtag #stopitnow. And please add your voice to the collective.
By Darryle Pollack
“Newtown, Old News”
By Lisa Belkin in the Huffington Post:
“Gun Control is a Parenting Issue”
By Lois Alter Mark
“Guns Do Kill People”
By Kathy Thompson Combs
“A Call for Action”
By Jo Heroux
By Ambling and Rambling
“Solve for X”
By Lori Lavender Luz
“Do Something”
Finally, please contact your congressman. Here’s a link with information on how to do so.


  1. It must end now. And we must make that happen by doing our part. We can call or write to our legislators and urge their support of stricter gun control laws.

  2. So well put, Mindy. Something has to change and we cannot lose our momentum to get this change going.

  3. It almost too painful to think of how they must have been feeling. Like Sharon said, we cannot lose our momentum.

  4. We have all "lost" our children from time to time, but to lose them forever, particularly in such a horrible way-- I don't know if I would ever recover from that. Truly.