Raising Children in an Anxious America

This is not normal

Mindy Stern
Human Parts
Published in
5 min readMay 8, 2019


Photo: mrs/Getty Images

OOur ideal weekend was over. I hugged my daughter, took one last look into her blue eyes, smiled, and watched her head off with her new friends. My husband and I got into our car and drove away from her bucolic, upstate, New York liberal arts college, en route to my husband’s sister in Connecticut.

As we drove through lush apple orchards and across the Hudson River into the forests of Massachusetts, the October leaves were as majestic as promised. We marveled at the nature and at how happy our daughter was, how settled she seemed, and how easy it was to say goodbye to someone who appeared to be right at home.

We’d been driving for about 90 minutes when we reached the Berkshires. We drove along a narrow, winding road running alongside lakes and white clapboard cabins. The rocky hillsides dotted with crisp fallen leaves, each vista more picturesque than the last. Then, my phone vibrated.

At 9:23 a.m. I received an emergency alert text from my daughter’s college:

Man with handgun in woods. No lock down yet.

Then, a text came in from my daughter:

I’m in class, don’t worry.

We kept driving.