Much has been made in commentary, on blogs, in comments, of the fact that during the unthinkable tragedy in the Colorado movie theater there was a baby in attendance. Further, that one of those fatally shot was a 6 year old little girl. Instead of having empathy for her family, or even sadness for the girl herself, people go straight to blame. And it isn't blame of the murderer. It's blaming the girl's mother. Why? Because it makes some people feel too uncomfortable to believe, to know, that there are truly some things that are outside of our control. So we blame the victim. It is not only unwarranted, it is ultimately a selfish reflection back on those who are judging.
In light of that, I will provide some reasons that I can think of that might make taking a baby or a 6 year old (it was a PG-13 superhero movie) to the theater thinkable:
*An infant is likely to sleep in a darkened theater through the movie, and if not, a prepared mother (and even more a breastfeeding Mom who has nothing she needs to prepare) can feed the baby and the baby sleeps again. That's the majority of what babies do when they're that young. Eat and sleep (and poop - and they have changing stations for that, too). Why should Mom and Dad quarantine themselves to home or face forced separation just to have a night out, even just to see a movie? And no, babysitters are not always an option. As a military wife I can testify to that fact. Our nearest relatives are at least 3 states away. We move and re-network every 4 years or less. Our closest, most trusted friends have families themselves. So lets look at that option: either we force our friends to have a night apart so that we can spend our night out together, or all of the children are combined and suddenly there is a house with 7 kids under the age of 6 and only 2 adults. True friends would only put their friends through that for an anniversary or an emergency. LOL!
*My kids love superhero movies. Some, I don't let them watch at all. Some, I censor certain sequences (too-real violence, tough content, or overt sexuality). Yes that is easier to do at home on Blu-Ray. But sometimes as a special night or as a reward for doing something that was extra challenging (I read that the 6 year old victim had just learned how to swim for instance) I take them to the theater to see a movie. It is not up to me or to any of you to tell this mother it was inappropriate for her to allow her daughter to see this movie, if that is what it comes down to for you (content). You don't know them. You don't know their history or anything else except what we have been presented with in the short amount of time the press has been digging for details. Maybe there was some special connection to Batman. Maybe the mother was ready to cover her daughter's eyes when something that was "too much" appeared. Maybe it doesn't matter.
And that is the point. It doesn't matter. To those who blame the mother, the parents, of the children present at the theater the night of this horrendous event I tell you to take a minute and sit in silence. Sit in silence and grasp the fact that we don't and can't control every event of our lives. We can only live it the best way we know how in the moments we are given. If these families found joy in the moment of going to the theater to see a special movie showing during the summer - then I say cheers to them! What happened to them was not their fault. Any more than it would have been their fault if they went instead to a Care Bears movie at noon - and were struck and killed by a drunk driver on the way there. Not Their Fault.
It's ok to take your child to the movies (if you're prepared to leave if the baby cries or the toddler acts up). I have done it. My friends have done it. I am deeply sorry that this was the outcome for the families of those in Colorado who also did it.