When you become a mom, something changes in your heart. It’s like a switch is turned on, and you feel love that you have never felt before. This doesn’t just happen for our own kids, either. Now, when we see a baby in the grocery store, we cannot help but smile at him or her with pure joy. Or, see a child in need, we feel the urge to lend a helping hand. We also feel the love and pain that other mom’s feel when something exciting or tragic happens to or for a child.
I could not image my life without either of these babies. It is my motherly duty to protect them, love them, and guide them. As a mom we want nothing but the best for our kids. So, when I received an email from a fellow mom, I couldn’t help but see my own children in her situation and feel her pain. I truly cannot put into words what this mom has gone through, or how important her message truly is.
However, she has laid her message out perfectly in a recent email. It is copied below.
I cannot thank you enough for opening your heart in willingness to help me allow God to use my biggest mistake and greatest suffering for the good of others and His glory. I never ever imagined I would be a mom promoting gun safety. I wish this wasn’t me writing this letter, I would give an anything to go back to August 2, 2012 at noon and redo the three minutes that forever changed our family. That’s all it took – just 3 minutes after my husband placed an unsecured gun on our nightstand (for me to take as protection). All it took was for me to be distracted for three minutes on a phone call for my three-year old little boy Truman to sneak in my bedroom and take a loaded handgun outside and accidentally shoot himself. This is where our movement gained the name “Moments Matter.” As I have continually replayed that day in my mind, it took years for me to comprehend how his little hands were even able to pull that six+ pound trigger. It seemed nearly impossible. I have discovered that a lot of parents underestimate their kids when it comes to firearms. “Oh, my child would never!” or “My kids know better.” or “My guns aren’t where they can find or reach them.” The list goes on and on, but the reality is that “Little Hands are Stronger than you think.” Our whole campaign is based off these two reminders.
There is this ridiculous stereotype that gun accidents only happen to stupid careless gun owners who need to train their kids better or don’t have any business owning a gun to begin with. This wasn’t us and after entering this arena, I’ve discovered it isn’t most of the people who have experienced similar gun related accidents with their children. It is happening to good, well intentioned families. The year our son died there were six other law enforcement families (that I know of) with a child between 2-6 years-old who also died from an unsecured gun. Most gun owners under estimate the strength of little hands and like us, never foresee the dangers of having a gun “easily accessible.”
I’ve never been a perfect mom, but oh do I love these kids! I have devoted my life to being the best mom I could possibly be. My husband was a seasoned police officer for 17 years. He is the kind of man who would sacrifice his own life for a complete stranger and fiercely loves his kids. He always used the tragedies he saw daily, as first responder, to better protect our children. Together we thought we had all our safety bases covered, but we momentarily oversaw the dangers of the one thing we thought could protect our family in an emergency.
As I began sharing our story publicly (we’ve created four PSA commercials with the Outdoor Channel and shared our story on Ann Voskamp’s blog), I received numerous messages from other moms thanking me for making them aware of the typically unforeseen dangers of unsecured firearms. “This could be me.” And “We aren’t gun owners, so I never thought about asking people I trust my children with if they have unsecured guns in their homes or vehicles.”
My eyes are now wide open to exactly how necessary it is for us to take the politics out of the conversation and create a continual safety conversation when it comes to the importance of ensuring no child has access to an unsecured gun (inside or outside of their home).
The heart of our foundation is Moments Matter – every single one of them. It’s not only a safety message, but also a reminder to parents slow down and cherish the little moments that matter most. I also pray our story will bring even the smallest glimpse of hope to those who are suffering their own loss. God has been so faithful and good to us, more than anything I want others see His light shining through our darkest moments.
My goal is to create a movement (especially among mamas) to remind each other that Moments Matter. We can all parent differently, but all of us could use important reminders. The number one question I have gotten is “How do I start this conversation with my friends and family without offending anyone?” I have put a lot of thought into creating a toolkit to help moms start the simple conversation about safety and the importance of secured firearms. I’m sharing this kit with you and praying for you as you stand with me and allow God to use your platform in helping me. I reached out to over forty Texas moms who could help me get this movement widespread and you are one of three who were brave enough to say yes.
This Friday, August 2nd is Truman’s seventh Heaven Day and I cannot think of a better way to bring good from the worst day of my life than to launch the Moments Matter Movement and use our suffering to help prevent other mothers from living this nightmare. I would do anything to go back to the moments when Truman grabbed that handgun and save him from the accident that ended his life, but I have to face the reality that those moments are gone. Now I make the daily choice to focus on all the beautiful moments we had together while continuing to hold tight to the precious moments ahead with our other children. This movement is my love letter to Truman. I am forever grateful for your help in sharing it with your community.
Here are specific ways you can help (please don’t feel obligated to all of these – I’m grateful for any way you are willing to be a part of this movement.):
· Wear your Moments Matter shirt on Aug 2 and capture your special moments and share them with #momentsmattermovement & tag us @TeamTrumanFoundation
· Spread the word by sharing our story! Here are direct links to our film & full story:
· Share our safety kits! I sent you a package that included all the items in our safety kits. *I am attaching a explaining the kits I sent you. There will be 2 options available for purchase for $25-$55, as well as add-on items. I was very intentional in choosing specific items for families to use in their everyday lives as reminders of the importance of secured firearms in their homes. It’s my hope these items will also serve as tools to begin a safety conversation in their communities.”
The last thing I ever want is to lose them to someone else carelessness, or my own. We have no idea how much time we have with each other, but what we do know is we can help protect one another. If you or someone you know owns a gun in their home, please pass this message on to them. This could happen to ANYONE. It could happen to us. We may not know guns, but we are in gun owning homes on a continuous basis. Law enforcement homes at that.