By: Mary Fran Bontempo

Today is not an ordinary Tuesday.

On an ordinary Tuesday, I use this space in NRFGP to mutter about life’s happenings–to vent, observe, and hopefully, make you, our readers, laugh.

NRFGP has always been about fun, about finding some joy in the every day, about seeing the humor in life’s occasional frustrations and recognizing, with a chuckle, how minor they really are. I often make a big deal out of nothing–piles of laundry, dishes in the sink, the sags and bags looking back at me from the mirror–in an attempt to reach out to the “sisterhood” by poking fun at our shared circumstances.

But this Tuesday, what we all share, is a nightmare.

The nightmare that afflicts every parent on the planet–that something will happen to our children and we won’t be able to protect them.

In Sandy Hook last week, that nightmare became reality, and though most of us are miles away from those families who tragically lost children, we share a measure of their unimaginable pain and horror.

There really are no words to describe any of this, and attempts to do so ring hollow. But there is a pall over our country, one caused by a feeling we’ve come to know all too well–that nowhere is safe and that we can’t protect the most innocent among us.

But we have to try. Which is why I am taking this Tuesday and making it even less ordinary by urging you to take a stand, something we shy away from on a site that’s geared towards life’s lighter moments. There is nothing light in Sandy Hook right now, and there won’t be for a long time to come.

It’s time to stop talking. It’s time to stop waiting for the next tragedy, the next parade of grieving Americans burying their dead, taken too soon at the hands of some maniac with a gun.

It’s time for gun control.

There is no need for an ordinary citizen of this country to own an assault weapon. Those guns should be banned, and anyone who sells one should go to jail. Yes, the Constitution says we have the right to bear arms. Yet somehow, if our forefathers could have foreseen weapons that could fire off multiple rounds per second, shooting bullets that would explode inside the flesh, weapons that are routinely used not to defend our country, but to kill innocent people and children, I doubt the law would have been so simplistically written.

Regardless, we have to act. Act–not talk–while we wait for the next time. Because there will be a next time.

So I urge you, on this not-ordinary Tuesday, to take some extraordinary action. Sign a petition. Call your Congressman. Call the White House. Do something. (Click here to sign a petition on gun control.)

We live in the greatest country on earth. But as President Obama said, if we do not protect our children, then we are failing.

And our children deserve better than that. We all do.