I read the news yesterday and withdrew. I wasn’t able to process it as part of a shared experience with my friends here. It was too immense and awful, this thing blocking out the entire sky, and I had to do my own measurements and calculations to place it in my world, to note its size and structure and composition. To assess how it might affect everything else I feel and believe. I guess I’m still working on that.

Kindergartners are sweet and excitable and clumsy and adorable. They’re like puppies at that age. Trusting. Earnest. Eager to earn praise. They want to love everyone they meet. Anyone can be loved. Anyone can qualify for adoration. They’re not picky. Their primitive, elemental innocence makes them inspirational and precious to those of us who have long outgrown our guileless years.

Sometimes, though, their puppyish playfulness crosses into rambunctiousness and gets aggravating. Particularly on a busy school day morning when parents are frantically trying to ensure that all members of the household are fed, dressed, washed, and ready to go about their day on time. I know that when my daughter, who’s six, causes unreasonable delays in our morning I get really impatient really quickly. Yesterday morning my daughter was playing around with her cereal bowl during breakfast, and she lost her grip on it and it shattered on the floor. It was a big clean up, because when glass shatters on a hard floor the shards are flung just everywhere. I had to drag out the shop vac and crawl around on the tile hunting down sharp bits of the bowl. And I was very cross with her. Just this side of unsparing.

What if that had been the last significant interaction I’d ever had with her? This is the notion that’s haunting me amid hundreds of equally horrible aspects of this tragedy in Connecticut. What if some poor mom or dad had that frustrating, rushed morning? What if they were angry and spoke sharply to their child? What if the last moments they had with their kid were tainted with anger? How can anyone be expected to live with that? Merely imagining it leaves me gutted. And this is not my tragedy. My heart, my imagination, and my citizenship in this country tie me to the shooting, but I’m in no way truly involved. I can offer nothing to the ones who need it most. I can’t reverse this, I can’t offer solace, I can’t grant absolution.

All I can do is hug my baby. And go back to using plastic cereal bowls. And temper my frustrations during rushed mornings. There are too many families just now who’d give anything, who’d give everything, just to have their baby break a bowl on the kitchen floor today.

  1. withtimecomesunderstanding said: This, this is why the idea of being a father some day is so frightening to me…
  2. monkeysmamabear said: This is exactly how I feel.
  3. braincooksidea said: It’s been hard for me to process too. I’m breaking out in fits of crying over those poor babies. And their parents… Oh god. So very gutted.
  4. electricjuicebox reblogged this from apricotica
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