Wednesday, June 3, 2020

I Stay Awake At Night: Fears of a White Mother

I can't get the story of that 2yo drowned by an alligator at Disney World out of my head. I compulsively replay the imagined scene, hug my kids tight, and tell myself stories about why it won't happen to my family, even while knowing it's completely possible.

Our family hikes all the time. Free nature is just a part of our family culture. We hike by water with alligators, because we live in southeast Texas, and any body of water might have alligators. I also worry about drowning and venomous snakes and poison ivy.

I stay awake many nights planning all the ways I can protect my kids from potential tragedy. I give them talks about water safety and animal safety and looking out for their brothers.

You know what doesn't keep me up at night? The tragic scenes that don't compulsively play in my mind as I worry about my family?
  • My husband getting killed by 2 neighbors chasing him down in a pick up with guns. (Ahmaud Arbery)
  • My son getting shot by a neighbor who thinks he's acting suspiciously 100 yards from our house. God knows my kids act suspiciously in our neighborhood every single day. (Trayvon Martin)
  • My husband getting suffocated by a police officer's knee for 10 minutes until he dies. (George Floyd)
  • My children being shot as they play with toy guns in our neighborhood, which they do all the time. (Tamir Rice)
  • My son being shot because his God-given appearance scares someone into pulling the trigger. (Botham Jean)
  • My family being shot simply because of the color of our skin. (Charleston Church 9)
And then I feel guilty. Because when I look at the list of worries that keep me up at night, it's nothing compared to the lists of Black mothers in America.

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