My kids sleep with some type of light on, or with a stuffed animal. They are scared of the dark as any 5 or 6 year old would be. Sometimes even with the light on, they are still frightened. We go trough all the stuff they don’t have to be scared of, and try to get them to sleep. Some night not as smooth as others but, eventually sleep comes. With monsters vanquished, we head to our room for slumber. As parents we don’t tend to admit it but we have fears of our own too. Yes the standard things are there like spiders and bills, but true fears are present in the dark corners of our minds. They echo in the news feeds on our timelines and on our TV’s. Lately it has been hard for me to compose positive and jovial compositions. This past Tuesday has been a tsunami of emotions that seeped into some of my fears. I woke up to two Facebook posts, both from my home town. One was of a father, who just days after Father’s Day, was shot and killed. His young daughter, shot while caught in the cross fire as well. The second another little girl on the other side of town, only 7 years old, shot in the leg. All of this riding on the wake of the no conviction in the shooting case of the Philando Castile. I always pray for the safety of my children. I wish no harm to ever come to them as all parents do. This sucked the wind out of my sail, and the joy from my heart. I can not imagine the hurt of that young girl, who is scared not only physically, but mentally with the trauma of losing her father. Scared with the trauma of almost losing her life. No child should have to deal with that. In every case I mentioned above a child is in the heart of it. Two lost a father. The child in my hometown and Philando’s daughter, who was in the car during the shooting. Two where shot. Both girls will have visible scars to carry with them forever. All are traumatized. It will take years of therapy to get all parties in a safe space mentally. I just read the text dialog of the teen that was on the edge, and would not have gone forward with suicide if it had not been for the push of his girlfriend.
This is what scares me. My children losing me. Me losing my children. All it takes is one nervous police officer who see’s me as a threat. Some random guys who have an issue with someone else. Their stray bullet becomes the source of suffering for my children. Now they are maimed and fatherless. My child who I love chooses not to take the open help to get out of a bad situation. They go to a friend that leads them to suicide. It’s not who’s in office, or money that keeps me up some nights. Its the reality of the harsh world we live in. That is the fear that no night light can keep away. When my skin could be the thing that takes me away from my family. The demons I battle in my mind. The unknown battles in my children’s minds. These are the battles that rage behind closed eyes in the dark. As in the dark I may seem at times what steadies me is love. Faith. My wife has held me as I have wept at night. Being the guy I am I bottle things up until I can no longer feel. Then I feel too much, and pours out. I have begun meditation and reading more to help calm my mind. I pray. But most important I tell each of my children how much I love them. No matter how upset I may get, or disappointed with their actions. Dad’s love is unconditional. If things get too over whelming, I will be that night light. I will be that shoulder to cry on. The ear to listen. We fight this battle together. No one gets left in the dark.