Today I celebrate life, but my heart is heavy.

Today is my youngest son’s birthday. I rejoice in this day. I go out of my way every year to make my kids feel extra special on their birthdays. No matter how much money we have, what is stressing me, or what is going on in our lives. I decorate our table with party ware, hang birthday banners, either cook their favorite breakfast or surprise them with donuts. I give them a couple of gifts and sing Happy Birthday. Every year. It isn’t much but they love it.

I love their innocence. I want to keep that magic alive for them as long as possible.

We had had a rough couple of birthdays for this little guy. Money has been tight in years past, dad was working out of state, Pop Pop died the week prior. Even through these difficult times I put on a happy face and wrap him up in all my love.

That blind innocence gets harder to keep alive each year. At school not too long ago, they had a gun safety course. One day this month they have drill for what to do if there is a shooting at their school. My sweet little innocent (now) seven year old came home asking if we have guns in the house and what he should do if he found one. It broke my heart that he has that on his mind and heart. In light of recent events, I am even more sad.

It breaks my heart that my kids are growing up in a world where we have to have safety drills for a school shooter. Or a  world where we have to worry about little kids getting the family gun, bringing it to school, and accidentally shooting a classmate. We live in a world where people stalk mothers in parking lots and grocery stores trying to steal their children away to sell them to the highest bidder. A world where people go to night clubs, festivals, and concerts and open fire or set off bombs on people just trying to have a good time. Our world has gone to hell in a handbasket.

This world is the one my children are growing up in. I fear for them every single day. Each birthday signifies one step closer to when they are thrust out into this big bad world all on their own.

For now though, there is nothing I can do but love them and hold them a little longer, hug them a little tighter. Most of all, I can appreciate the moments I have with them.

Author: Shelly's Life: Piece by Piece

Mom of four. Living with depression and anxiety. One child on the spectrum.

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