I’ve spent all week stewing. I was prepared to introduce you to the newest member of the Bible, famed biologist Gluten Free Jesus. Unfortunately there are more pressing matters at hand. And I can’t even garner up enough snark to discuss the recently released 2012 list of most challenged books – and believe me, I have a lot to say on the matter. My favorite book of all time, Fahrenheit 451, is, ironically, a frequently challenged/banned book that’s about, well, book banning (in a nutshell). – Maybe I can save that for another discussion – we could go on for days about that.
And, unfortunately, I don’t have it in me this week to post another Bizarro Bible Story. But believe me, I will continue with them next week and use it to introduce the topics of biology, gastro-intestinal issues and Jesus. Maybe. Unless something else strikes my fancy.
No, folks. This week I can’t do it. This week my heart has taken over my snark. You see, my oldest son is almost 8. And the other day, I am sure you know unless you live under a rock, a beautiful 8 year-old boy was needlessly killed in a cowardly act of terror at the Boston Marathon. So, pardon me if I ramble on a bit. I have been trying to find clarity in my thoughts.
Eight. Barely a life. Eight. The age where Captain Underpants is awesome, fart jokes are hysterical, girls are just another group of people willing to play tag. Eight. The age when you finally figure out your baseball mitt isn’t just a hat, the age when you can run a full length soccer field with out getting winded, the age when cuddles are mandatory (as long as your friends aren’t around). Eight. When haircuts start to matter, when you play so hard you pass out at night, when you can finally take a shower by yourself and actually get most of your body clean. Eight. When birthdays turn into sleepovers, when you begin to realize you are gravitating toward other eight year-olds with similar interests, when your brother is your best friend. When your mom is still the healer of all boo-boo’s, the cooker of all meals, the lady whose smile can make you smile. When your dad is the still a superhero, the most awesome at fixing stuff, the guy who can do anything. Eight. The age when Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and the Great Pumpkin are all still real. Eight. The age when you not only begin to think for yourself, but the age when you begin to verbalize it with amazing intellect and reason. Eight. The age you now learn geometry, learn cursive, and continue to be fascinated by the fact you get to go outside for recess everyday. Eight. Barely a life. But a life lived more thoroughly than most adults I know. A life lived, for the most part, with fun and laughs and jokes and the knowledge that someone will be there to tuck you in at night.
Just like the events of Newtown on December 14, 2012, when I heard about the bombing and death of this precious little man, I died a little bit inside. I hugged my kids a little tighter. I stared at them a little longer before I went to bed. I thanked God my boys were still in one piece in the next room. I thanked God it wasn’t my boys. Did I feel a bit selfish? Sure. Did I, at that moment, care? No. Did I feel conflicted over my feelings? Absolutely.
I can’t wrap my head around the senseless motivation for such a deplorable act. I can’t wrap my head around the needless deaths of anyone. I can’t wrap my head around the fact that it takes something like this for me to stop and grab my kids tighter, complain less about the messes they leave, and hold on to my patience when they won’t go to bed at night. I hate the fact that I, we, slip into a comfortable routine. And I hate that I have to hate that. I hate the fact that I second guess getting mad at them for not brushing their teeth or not putting on their shoes fast enough when getting ready for school. I hate the fact that it takes an event like this to make me remember that each day is precious. And each smile is a gift. And each day is a new adventure. And I hate that I have to be reminded of that.
All I can do is prepare my little people for life without cynicism. Prepare them to be men. Prepare them to value life. Prepare them to live each day in the moment, let go of regrets and look toward a beautiful future. Prepare them to be caring, empathetic, kind. Prepare them to see such acts for what they are – cowardice in human form. And hope beyond hope that evil never touches a hair on their precious little heads.
What I know is that some sick psycho killed, maimed, injured hundreds of people that day. What I know is that one of the dead is an 8 year-old boy with a toothless grin and a lifetime of experiences yet to face. What I know is there are grieving families because of one act of cowardice. You ask if I believe in Heaven? Hell, yes I do. And I believe in Hell. And I believe that whoever did this, is going to burn in it. And I also believe, that isn’t punishment enough.