I was all set to sit down today and write a lighthearted little post sharing some hilarious things my kids have said at the dinner table – you know, a happy change of pace from the ponderous tone of my last entry.
Then Newtown happened. And suddenly I’m not feeling so lighthearted anymore.
Which is a little odd, when you think about it, since this is, what, the seventh mass shooting THIS YEAR? (No, really.) And that’s not even getting into Columbine or Virginia Tech, or Fort Hood, or … And yet somehow I’ve been able to wax comedic when the mood took me. All killing is heinous, it’s true. But the murder of children is surely a special kind of evil. When I first heard about the shooting it was before there was any count for the victims, and as the numbers started coming out I was increasingly aghast. My horror culminated when I read that the deaths were “concentrated in a kindergarten classroom” – I think that’s when it became difficult to hide my sobbing from the three-year-old. Because oh, my god. Kindergarteners. Five-year-olds. My kids’ age, or thereabouts. And all I could see in my head was Ellie’s kindergarten class last year, all those precious little faces and bodies following behind their teacher like little ducklings in a row, every day after school. And all I could imagine was how terribly frightened and confused those children in Newtown must have been, with the noise and the shouting and the bullets and the palpable taste of panic. And how cripplingly awful it must have been for the teachers and staff as they realized what was happening and tried to keep those children safe. And all I could think about was how Christmas is coming, and Hanukkah is here, and those families all have these huge, raw, gaping holes in them now, that nothing will ever fill, and the holidays can be rough enough when your family is alive, so how will they ever make it through to the new year? Continue reading