Human beings have such an amazing capacity to shut out the things that they'd rather not know. Horrible things going on far away, scary things that happen to people right next door, totally unexpected things that could happen to them at any moment, anywhere, at any time. You have to shut it out, because otherwise, you'd never be able to get on with your day. You have to get dressed and feed the dog and put gas in the car and get milk on your way home...you have to live your life, even though in the back of your mind you know that there are all these...things.
And then you become a parent.
Wendy started Kindergarten this year. She is totally in love with it. She has a great teacher, and new friends, and this week, she started a "Pony Club," for people who love playing ponies (still unclear if they are pretending to be ponies or pretending that they have ponies). We made certificates for the sustaining members of Pony Club, and everything, so it's totally official.
And today, the day after the elementary school shooting in Connecticut, I watch her pushing her static-y hair out of her face while she colors her official Pony Club certificates with sparkly crayons...and I want to lock the door, unplug the TV, and shut out the world for real. I want to tell the world to Go Eff Itself, it cannot have these kids, thank you very much, I prefer to keep them. I will join the Pony Club myself, and we will have lots and lots of fun by ourselves.
You can grow this cynical shell of self preservation all your life, and go around saying things like "yeah, life's a bitch, right? oh well, let's get a drink." You can paste together your favorite fortune cookie fortunes into philosophies that help you rationalize and believe and maintain basic sanity. Then, you have kids who are so beautiful and perfect, and you find that those carefully established blinders and defenses and fail safe platitudes against the griminess of human existence...those things may protect you from reality enough to get through your day, but they will not protect your children from reality itself.
Days like today, I question how I could have ever, even for a moment, tricked myself into believing in a rational world. I do not want to have this fear.
I am sorry that this is dark. I know that I was able to tuck my kids in last night, and eat breakfast with them this morning, and there are twenty families in Connecticut who cannot say the same. In light of what happened yesterday, I should focus on loving them and being present with them, and I am (see: making Pony Club certificates) But in the pit of my stomach, right where it feels like I was punched, I cannot rid myself of this hurt. I don't know any of the people involved, but it still feels personal.
I do not have a good way to end this post. I have a six year old. On Monday, I must take her to school and drop her off at the curb and drive away. There is no fortune cookie to help me do that. But maybe...maybe she will.