I’ve been dancing around the news this weekend. Wanting more information, but not wanting more information. Wanting to talk about it, but not for more than a few seconds, and not so little ears can hear. I’ll read headlines, but skip the actual content. I’m not sure how much I can handle, or what exactly I need to know, or how much the “news” does anything for me aside from feed my curiosity and my fear for my children’s lives. The gloominess is somewhat oppressive, and I’m tired of seeing “gun control” and “mental illness” everywhere and sensing those elephants in every room and website and conversation. If I ignore it, I feel insensitive. If I acknowledge it, I feel lost. So I think I’m going to keep dancing, until the music – however terrifying and and discordant it is – fades away.
Thankfully, all is not disharmony. It is Christmas time, and while this season of love and hope and peace and joy seems entirely at odds with this latest tragedy, both are fueled by the love we have of children and childhood and innocence. I’ve felt, these past few days, a greater appreciation for children, a greater toleration for their specific quirks and challenges, a greater need to love and to hear and to protect them.
Last night we had a couple of dozen little people (and their parents) at our place. The kids made forts under the table and got chocolate all over their faces and laughed too loudly and roped anybody they could into reading them a story. They shrieked with glee and raced to the door whenever the buzzer alerted us to another visitor. It was loud and chaotic and busy and crowded. And it was absolutely wonderful, even magical.
Even with all this fear and pain and incomprehensible loss, I am grateful for the greater love and patience and understanding I’ve felt for all children. I’ve come to know and love and respect many of them during the 5+ years I’ve been running with the t-shirt-chewing, princess-pretending, silly-joke-telling crowd. And it is their presence that, no matter how loud and sometimes grating or soft and sweet, add the tones and rhythms that make my life rich.