By Veronica Forand
The news from Manchester, England spilled onto my newsfeed like one of those unplanned, heart-wrenching phone calls received in the middle of the night. The deaths at the concert, however, were orchestrated to provide maximum psychological damage. Attack the children. Rip out the hearts of the adults. The plan for the most part worked. We hugged our children closer to us this week. We prayed and made sure we had some more control over their lives, as though we could someone protect them from the rest of the world.
Me? My tears fell, my heart broke, but instead of holding my children closer, I’m letting them go. Not without mass trepidation. As Edgar Alan Poe pointed out in “The Masque of the Red Death,” hiding away will not keep us protected. So I’m teaching my kids about being safe in public spaces and emergency situations, watching out for potential threats, and then allowing them to live life without someone holding them back from their dreams.
My daughter is moving to the UK in the fall to study for university. She’ll only be seventeen. Some people disagree with my family’s decision to send her to a place that has witnessed a terrorist attack and is battening down against possible other ones. Yet, what is the alternative? Tell her that her dream isn’t valid? Tell her that she’d be safer on a U.S. campus? Tell her that I love her so much that I’m going to bind her to me and not let her find her own way in the world?
No. My parents raised me to be independent and seize every opportunity. My life has been a whirlwind of wonderful successes and epic failures. There are threats everywhere. With some precaution, some prayer, and a mom hovering in the background waiting to help if she ever needs me, she’ll find her way.
Veronica Forand is the author of seven novels and a practicing attorney. She is also a best friend to her husband and a mentor to her children. Find her at http://www.veronicaforand.com/.