By Pamela Deiter-Sands, Connecticut
My son with the camera, always watching the world: he shows me things and tells me things that stop me in my tracks. He asked if I'd heard about the boy who texted his mother from the club in Orlando, "I love you mom." I started crying a little and said yes, I had. His eyes started blazing and he said angrily "See mom, your generation, you cry about shootings. My generation got trained in school. We learned to hide in a cupboard or a closet and be quiet in case somebody wants to come to our school and kill us. We had to learn about this stuff. We have to be tough. We have to be ready."
He doesn't mean armed and ready, he means emotionally prepared and informed and trained like soldiers. Once his brother hid for two hours during a drill at school -- he was so proud because even his teacher couldn't find him.
After my son said these things, I told him he would someday understand why those words made me cry, someday when he is a dad. He smiled at me, patted my shoulder. He knows I am talking to him about love. He is talking to me, though, about hate. About living with a reality of hate that I have never fully grasped, that he fully grasps at age 15.