We frequently say we miss the good old days when life was simpler. It’s in part because when we were younger we had so many fewer worries and responsibilities than we have as adults. But looking back on all we have been through it’s not surprising that we really miss these much simpler times. Life is so complicated and stressful now, it’s no wonder we are all so stressed out.
Technology today is amazing and does help bring us together. But in the old days, you would have to actually call someone on their home phone to talk to them instead of texting. I remember my middle school friend coming up with a code name for a boy in our class that liked her so her brothers wouldn’t overhear her say who it was. Today we would all have our own phones and could keep things more private.
We used to pass handwritten notes in class. We thought we were bad ass if we did this and didn’t get caught by the teacher. Instead of games on our phone we would constantly play MASH on a piece of paper and dream of what boy, car, house or how many kids we would end up with.
We would spend hours unsupervised outside with our friends. I felt like the world of sex offenders and predators did not become a thing until we were much older. Megan’s law happened after a girl was murdered in the city I now live in and found in a park I frequent. Very scary stuff.
We didn’t have to worry about online predators or cyber bullying because we didn’t have all this technology then.
We didn’t have play dates. It was just hey mom can I go over so and so’s house on Tuesday? I’m sorry but play dates sounds so snooty and exclusive.
We didn’t have the many terrible things we have had to live through as adults. Columbine happened my senior year of high school and was shocking and horrific. I remember our school had an all-school assembly the next morning to discuss. I remember how somber we all were, the opposite of the usual, boisterous crowd as we sat in the gym waiting for the meeting to start. Local high schools had on/off bomb threats until the school year ended.
Then a few years later we had to deal with terrorism and 9/11. A college teammate’s dad was killed in the towers. My Spanish professor was hysterical the morning this happened and we learned she lost a friend in the towers as well. It was unimaginable this could happen in the US. It was heartbreaking but I will always remember how much our team came together during this loss and appreciated how sports teams are like a family.
We had to deal with the fear of terrorism for awhile after, a fear that doesn’t fully go away. Flying would never be the same thanks to the stricter security measures in place. We took a bus out to Rock Island, Illinois which is right on the border with Iowa instead of flying to Nationals that year. Our meet at Van Cortlandt Park was cancelled as this was scheduled the week after 9/11 and things were still crazy in NYC. But those were minor changes compared to the fear and loss we had to deal with following an attack on our country, not that far from our home state.
Then in 2020 we had to deal with a pandemic, something that happens roughly every hundred years. We had to deal with grocery stores running out of toilet paper and products we needed. We had to navigate and balance venturing out when necessary versus our family’s safety. I had to deal with having a newborn and no support from family or friends as the Covid shutdown literally began the day we brought Alice home from the hospital.
As parents this was scary. I feared for the health of my children and my older relatives. I had to figure out how to reopen two facilities and was so worried of what work was going to be like.
We also had the next year start with an insurrection on the capital and a president who refused to concede an election loss. Watching the attack on the capital was frightening. This is not the country I grew up in and what the US was founded on.
Then in 2022 there’s a formula shortage leaving moms scrambling to find formula. Ironically this happens with the one child I can’t breastfeed after breastfeeding my first four! Inflation is crazy right now and gas prices are out of control. Just more stressful stuff for us to deal with.
Sandy Hook was horrific and one of the saddest things to hear about in the news. I did not yet have kids so it did hit me quite as hard as the recent shooting in Uvalde. The recent shooting shook me hard. The innocence of those kids. The devastation of those parents. I just can’t process it. It’s unimaginable.
The number of school shootings since I went to high school is alarming. It’s like Columbine did nothing to awaken us to the need to better gun control laws.
As I walk or drive by schools I see the numbers on the school doors and shutter. These were added at most schools after Columbine to help quickly identify doors for exits for students or where a shooter may be located.
I hate that starting in kindergarten students already practice lockdown drills. The only drills I ever had to do K-high school were fire drills.
Sadly when I taught in person classes at Mercer I would think about where I could take students in the event of a shooter or emergency which is horrible to have to consider. I worked in the PE Building and also taught a lot of classes there so I had plans for when I was there.
But I also taught classes in other buildings I was not as familiar with. One fall I taught a CSW class in the AD Building and the power went out during class. This was a few days after the mass shooting at the Las Vegas concert. The professor across the hall from me looked concerned and said that the hall doors were locked and told me this never happened in all her years teaching here. She was worried we were in a lockdown.
I got scared but tried to remain composed for the students. I grabbed my cell and texted Chris I love him and the kids and we are in a lockdown. Fortunately after 10 long minutes the power came back on. Turns out the hall doors were magnetic and won’t open when the power goes out. All was ok. Still spooked me especially given the recent shooting in Las Vegas.
My boys love school and I often think nothing of them heading off every morning. I try to always say bye to my boys and I love you. But the day after the Uvalde shooting, I was scared and worried. It was their field day at their school and both Chris and I got to watch the boys in their games and be there with other parents on a beautiful day. It was a reminder of normalcy and how great and happy a place school is.
School needs to be a happy and safe place everywhere. What happened is Uvalde should never have happened. People going to church in California, grocery shopping in Buffalo, to a club in Miami, to the movies in Aurora, Colorado, to a concert in Vegas, to a mall in Midland, Texas to name some of the way too many mass shootings in our country, should never had to have worried about their safety. People doing every day things many of us have all done should not be gunned down.
This is not the simple, care free times we grew up in. We didn’t hear about these mass shootings until Columbine and it’s heartbreaking. We have been through a lot.
Of course I miss the easy time without bills, financial responsibilities, and very few cares. But I just miss the lack of terrible things we didn’t have to worry about: mass shootings, terrorisms, sexual predators and offenders, cyber bullying, a pandemic.
No wonder so many parents are burnt out and so stressed. We are growing up in much different and scary times. But we will get through all this, especially if we can all work together to support each other. And we must please do something about gun control laws. Regardless of where you stand politically or on guns, we can’t have another mass shooting taking innocent lives.