Breaking News and My Mixed Feelings

I had a blog post all set to write. It was probably going to be something tongue-in-cheek and silly. I actually even sat down to begin writing it when the news erupted all over the TV, cyberspace and my phone.

Osama bin Laden: Dead.

Woah.

My entire adult life has been lived in a post 9-11 world. September 11th, 2001 was my 19th birthday. That day, I abandoned all birthday plans and sat glued to my television screen in horror, in tears, in disbelief, along with the rest of the world. I had never experienced such emotions and fear for something that was going on in the world. It was frightening to see history unfold before my eyes and understand that this was going to change things. I wasn’t a child. I wasn’t an adult, established in life and career.  I was just new to the world of adulthood, and now the world was changing, too.

While news tickers whipped across the TV screen, inundating my brain with devastating information, anxiety gripped me tightly.

I have experienced that same pang of anxiety and fear only a few times. The first, and worst, was on 9-11. The second time this happened was the day Obama was elected president. I watched him take the podium, his family at his side, frightened that someone was going to try to harm him. The third time I felt that fear was when Obama confirmed that Bin Laden was not only dead, but that his body was in US custody.

The newscasters talked about excitement and relief. They said that this is the end of a chapter, that it was going to get easier from now on. In unison, Clint and I said to the TV, “No, it won’t.” We both wonder what the repercussions will be. Is the violence going to escalate, even just temporarily? Are the extremists going to go nuts?

I worry that things are going to get worse before they get better. I worry for the troops deployed. I worry for their families at home. I worry, because each victory in the past 10 years seems to have been met with an equal amount of disaster.

The post 9-11 world has jaded the optimist in me.

It’s good that Bin Laden is gone and I hope that gives even an ounce of peace to those whose lives have been turned upside down at his hand. But I still worry, because I’m a mom and it’s what I do.

In the midst of the TV coverage on Bin Laden’s demise, my five-year-old walked into the room. He was bleary-eyed and his face was flushed from a fever. He sniffled that he couldn’t sleep. I pulled him close to me and held him in my arms. He doesn’t understand what happened 10 years ago. He doesn’t understand what happened today. He understands security and warmth. His biggest worry is whether or not I’m going to make him try some new food tomorrow, or that his favorite TV show will disappear.

I’m thankful for that.

This is when the optimist in me has peeked to the surface and dared to dream that by the time my kids understand the world, there won’t be a war. There won’t be any more history-changing devastation. They will live in a different post 9-11 world that allows them to be less anxious and fearful than it has made me.

Lindsay Maddox contributes each week to My Life Monday for The Balancing Act. Throughout the week, she chronicles tales of parenting hilarity on her blog Silly Mom Thoughts. You can also find Lindsay on Twitter and Facebook.

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