A Letter to an American Mammy

Dear American Mammy,

I feel like I know so much about what life is like in America. Every evening my screen is flooded with portrayals of what it’s like to live in the good old U S of A. From idyllic sitcoms, where everyone is beautiful and successful, to reality tv showcasing teenage mothers who live in the suburbs, we see it all. I do realise that its television but I have more of an understanding of American culture than any other place on earth.

Your children call you Mom, mine call me Mam.  I drive on the left hand side of the road and you drive on the wrong side! I’m not quite sure what a skillet is but I’m pretty sure that I have one I just call it something else. My daughter has a fringe and your daughter has bangs. We don’t have such a thing as a carpool lane and I don’t know what Twinkies are but I really want one!

I think if you were to sit opposite me and we were to chat over a cup of tea you’d tell me that it’s not very accurate. That everything is a little exaggerated for the entertainment of the masses and that our lives are not much different. We are neighbours separated by an ocean but in many ways life is the same for us all.

We get up each day and do our best for your children.

There is one distinction between you and me. I will never know the fear of sending my children to school to wonder if they will return home safe? I worry that they won’t work hard that they might not finish their lunch but it has never once crossed my mind that they won’t come back home once that school bell rings. I cannot imagine and if I’m honest I don’t really want to.

Since the beginning of 2018 there have been 3 shootings a week in schools in the United States of America. The fear of sending your children to school and something fatal happening to them is not that of irrational nightmares. It’s a very distinct possibility.

I read this week a circular that came home from a school in your country advising children to run in a zig zag line to minimise the chances of being shot. I can’t even digest that sentence:

run in a zig zag pattern to avoid being shot.

Children are equipped with vocabulary like lock-down, Kevlar and code red as if it’s the most normal thing in the world. It is not normal. It is not right.

This cannot be the norm for your children. Now is the time to put an end to this. An outdated aspect of the law cannot and must not overrule the lives of innocent children. Whatever you decide to do to take a stand know that every mother is the world is right behind you. I hope the next time I write it will be to congratulate you on change.

Until then stay safe,

An Irish Mammy.

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