I'm starting to realize that being jaded has its perks -- mostly because I haven't been able to shrug off tragic news stories these days.
And in my line of work, it's practically a job requirement.
I know it's because I'm a mother. I just look at things differently now. When a 45-year-old man got killed today because he was mowing his lawn and his tractor fell over on him, suffocating him to death, I just couldn't shake the creeping sense of despair. What about his kids? He won't get to see them graduate. Or get married. Or meet his grandchildren.
When I read a wire story about a 30-year-old man who sexually assaulted, burned and beat an 11-month-old girl to death and only got 30 years in prison because the judge "wants him to be able to make something of his life when he gets out," I was enraged. I thought, what about the life he took? What about that little girl? What could she have made with her life?
I know it's very unlike me to dwell on these things, much less write about it, but it's affecting me profoundly. I can't look at my daughter without seeing such hope and innocence and potential. And how am I ever going to protect her from freak accidents and senseless violence without becoming completely (and admittedly irrationally) paranoid?
I've always thought that I would be capable of a truly selfless act if I was faced with a split-second decision to help those I care about, rather than helping myself. But now I know, without any hesitation, I would do anything -- including give my life -- to protect my child.
But sometimes, sadly, it doesn't feel like enough.