A year ago this week, I had to sit my baby boys down and explain to them that a bad man with a gun killed people in our home city, in a church, because of the color of their skin.
This morning, I had to sit my baby boys down and explain to them that a bad man with a gun killed people because of who they love.
Here’s how the conversation went. Un-edited. Because there’s no playbook for this.
N: Mommy, what does your shirt say?
Me: “Y’all Means All.”
E: What does that mean?
Me: See the rainbow colors on the “All”? And you know how every year we walk in the rainbow parade?
(Fuck, fuck, fuck, I can’t believe I have to do this.)
Me: Well, we are a family who believes that any type of love is the right type of love. We believe that God created every human in God’s image. We do what’s in our hearts and what we know is right– which is to accept and love people exactly as they were born. And unfortunately, yesterday, a very bad man killed a group of gay people just because they are gay, which is the worst and most wrong thing he could have done.
E: Mommy, what’s “gay”?
Me: That means that men love and want to marry men, women love and want to marry women, which of course, is totally good and right. Love is love. We have lots of gay people who we love, who are in our family, who are at our church and who are our friends.
N: Guns can be really bad, right mommy?
Me: Yes baby, they can be, especially when used if people are mad.
E: Mommy, but why did God create the bad guy? Like John Wilkes Booth who killed Abraham Lincoln?
(Fuck, you’re so smart for 7. Why indeed baby?)
Me: Well, God also gave humans the ability to make choices. And unfortunately there are people who make the very worst choices. Which is why we need to make bigger and better choices than the bad people.
E: In school, we know where to hide if a bad guy comes.
(Fuck, are you kidding me I am raising babies in a world where they GET this? Where they PRACTICE for this? Where he was able to CONNECT those dots?)
Me: And baby, you do EXACTLY what your teacher tells you to in those drills. Do you promise me?
E: Yes Mommy.
Me: Do you guys have any questions for me? I know this is really hard and sad stuff to hear and I’m so sad that I have to say this to you.
N: Mommy, did you pack my ninja turtle?
Me: Yes, sweet boy, I packed him.
(Ok, I think we’re done. We made it. Until the next one.)
Show up in love today dear ones. Pray that we are done with these conversations.