Big Cuter's work is taking him to Vienna tomorrow.
Vienna is in Europe. IS is bombing metro stations and airports and hotels catering to tourists in Europe.
But those two sentences together, and you can see why I am worrying like a mommy. My big boy is going to a continent that has fewer good guys with guns (as if I believed that would keep him safe) and fewer police concentrating on stopping random acts of terror (as if I believed that would keep him safe) and less sharing of information between the entities responsible for the safety of the general population (as if I believed that would keep him safe).
He'll be surrounded by a group of young, well-groomed, American law stude nts who, I hope, will be smart enough not to advertise their country of origin by wearing logo t-shirts and caps as they compete and carouse. During our involvement in Viet Nam, I was encouraged to be Canadian as I left JFK for Amsterdam. I wish there were a similarly easy way to insulate him from violence as we engage radical Islamic terrorism (thanks, Ted Cruz, for telling me exactly who they are).
Last night, my boy agreed to be vigilant. He agreed to let me worry. He told me he loved me. I don't suppose I can ask for more.
But I'm still stuck. What kind of a world am I leaving for FlapJilly and her generation? Will they ever be carefree? Will they shout their allegiances from the rooftops without worrying about reprisals? Will hate speech be part and parcel of her public life, or will kindness prevail?
We are all in this together. Mark Kelly and Americans for Responsible Solutions send me emails every day, reminding me of victories achieved and asking for funds to further the cause. Planned Parenthood and Emily's List and Arizona List all have agendas which require money. Ann Kirkpatrick tells me that she is in a neck and neck race to replace John McCain... and she needs my help. Victoria Steele would like to replace Martha McSally.... with my help.
There's only so much money to go around. There is only so much time I can devote to ranting and raving, to making phone calls, to writing political screeds, to haranguing my friends. There's a life to be lived, friends to be visited, granddaughters to love. I can't spend my life worrying about what's wrong and how to fix it.... yet if I don't, who will?
Am I in overload mode? Is the weight of the world on my shoulders? The level of vitriol and violence in our world today is terrifying in a much more personal sense than it was when I was The Cuters' age. I didn't worry about going out to a movie or to a rally or a parade; I was in America and I was safe.
That was, of course, before 9/11, before I was perforated As Big Cuter pointed out, my worrying about his travelling to Europe has a bit of absurdity attached to its loving tails; my life was changed at a grocery store on a sunny, Saturday morning. Avoiding danger has become impractical if not impossible.
And so, I send my first born off into the world with love and best wishes and a gunny sack of fear on my back. I don't know why I'll breathe easier when he's back in San Francisco. I just know that I will.