Some say that death and taxes are the only absolutes in life, but my pelvic floor wants to weigh in on this. I never have to pee as badly as when I’m balancing milk on one hip, a toddler on the other, and repeatedly trying to open the front door with my car key. The new universal truths: death, taxes, and a full, inconvenienced bladder?
Whenever I try to fire off a quick text message, my fat thumbs can never get the job done. “On my way” turns into “Omaha” every. single. time.
If I hear my four-year-old daughter screech from the playroom, I instantly yell my son’s name, assuming he is to blame for her outburst. It’s not that he’s a bad kid; it’s that he’s an older brother and older brothers are instigators by nature. It’s science.
My body’s normal reaction to a bee buzzing around my head is to immediately engage flailing limbs with clenched fists as though I’m up against Mike Tyson and not a tiny flying insect.
When I’m flustered, I forget important stuff like my own phone number or which button opens the garage door.
I am the proud owner of a bunch of crap I couldn’t resist on Groupon and Zulily because DISCOUNTS, yo.
All this to say I’m a little impetuous, a lot impatient, and I rely on past experience and immediate satisfaction when making decisions. Throw in a bad mood, a handful of sleepless nights, crazy PMS, a bout of depression or anxiety and I’m a walking billboard for why the average asshole shouldn’t have access to a firearm.
Gun enthusiasts have told me I would change my tune if faced with a mad man shooting up the movie theater I’m sitting in with my kids. To that I say: the probability of that happening pales in comparison to the probability of the damage I could do if I were armed.
Hear me out: I’m your run of the mill mother living in peaceful ruralville. I’m nothing exciting or out of the ordinary; just a gal trying to keep the fingerprints on her walls to a minimum. I don’t have outstanding mental health issues; I don’t have a criminal background. I’ve been fingerprinted more than the average bear only because I am an educator and we are required by law to undergo extensive background checks. I work from home which means I’m with my kids all day, carting them to and from school, attending their afternoon activities, doling out snacks, kissing my 20-month-old’s face when I put her down for a nap each day at 1pm. My husband and I actually like each other, we go to church almost every Sunday, and my house has four bedrooms. In short, I’m the poster child for middle America “success.”
And I would be the first to shoot something or someone I wasn’t supposed to.
There is something very real that plagues me and other Moms and Dads called Parent Panic. Some of us don’t admit it exists; some of us think we’re stronger than it. We’re not. Don’t let the naysayers convince you otherwise.
That split second that feels like a lifetime when you can’t find your child in a sea of coats at the playground? Parent Panic.
Witnessing someone wrong or hurt your kid? Parent Panic.
Any thing or person that poses a threat to your child? Parent Panic.
If I’m back in that movie theater, face to face with a shooter and a gun in my purse this time, I would love to think I could remain calm and protect my family and other innocent people there. But the fact of the matter is, I can’t send a legible text message when I’m in a hurry. And I kind of freak out when a little bug is near me. I think I’d panic in a moment of life or death, but how would I know without military-esque gun training? Being able to name of all the parts on your gun and shooting at immobile targets isn’t exactly the same thing as properly functioning when in emotional overdrive. I, for one, admit my shortcomings and that’s why I won’t own a gun. But hey–that’s just me. Knowing my limitations makes me and you safer. So, you’re welcome.