Last Sunday’s shooting brought up a lot of heavy stuff about … so much. Let’s just sum it up as an overriding feeling of sorrow, anger, and grief, to keep it simple.
But children must be fed, and laundry must be washed, and deadlines must be met. I couldn’t get to a vigil on Wednesday because I had hot, hungry, tired children and also I’m not great at filtering news sometimes, so if they were to ask me what the vigil was about I’d probably have blurted out something about how easy it is for really disturbed people to buy guns and do terrible things to crowds of others (“Remember your ALICE drill, children? How you had to hide in your classrooms and pretend there was an intruder in your school, and you had to hide and stay quiet?”)…*
…and how even though people who aren’t hetero and gender-conforming have gained a lot of rights and acceptance in the past two decades, the world is really still not a safe place for them/us, and hand-holding in public can be dangerous, and I worry about friends living in less tolerant places…
…and even though what led to or at least made possible this shooting is a combination of the crappy gun laws and NRA control of Congress in the U.S. — as well as a still overriding homophobia in this country and elsewhere, despite legal gains — people are up in arms about Muslims again (or still are but even more so, even though extremism exists in every religion), and I worry about Muslim friends (and, yeah, Muslims I don’t know)…
And the divisions (religion, gay rights, gun control, racism, immigration, more) that have come up after this most recent mass shooting are so awful, like so much hate-pus being drawn out of a terrible deep wound.
Anyway, talking about it, or not. The children and I listen to public radio every morning, and I know they’ve heard about the shooting, but we haven’t talked about it, because I just can’t talk about it right now. And they haven’t asked about it. I think for whatever reason it didn’t catch their attention the way a plane crash might.
My very privileged children (white, male, in a nice suburb in a liberal bubble in the Northeast) have enough going on right now, even though their newly-separated parents are getting along well and we all get together for birthdays and for dinner sometimes and we all see each other all the time and we have a home (well, two homes) and books and toys and aren’t hungry. They know I have to move soon, they know we’re probably moving out of town but we don’t know where but it has to do with afterschool childcare and my working full time soon and other mysterious grown-up reasons. They know that lately I am a little tired and impatient, and they don’t quite understand why they’ll be going to summer camp instead of being home all summer, going to the pool and eating popsicles.
We’re so privileged.
So I’m sorry. I meant to start writing regularly about running and food and work and life, but this week is a tough one.
Reader, thanks for being here. Know that you’re loved, and you’re not alone, and you’re OK as you. Go and be kind to strangers and loved ones.
* I might also be a little edgy because we have a second annual camping trip coming up in Connecticut. Right next to Newtown. Last year we met up in Connecticut with dear friends who’d moved away for a camping trip. It poured rain one morning, and despite great efforts at hanging a tarp, we decided to go to a diner for breakfast instead of eating oatmeal in the rain. We found a diner. It turned out to be in Newtown, Connecticut, six months after the shooting…and here we were, going to the diner that had fed so many rescue workers, with four children, two of them first-graders. I have possibly never been so self-conscious. There were framed newspaper articles on the walls about the shooting and the diner’s role as a place of gathering and comfort.
I took some deep breaths.
And then the kids KNOCKED OVER a table, jelly packs and sugar packets and ketchup and syrup bottles on the floor. WAY TO KEEP A LOW PROFILE, KIDS. I was mortified, but the diner people were very kind about it.
We’re going there again in a few weeks.