As my fingers crawl to the computer and try to tap out thoughts about what misery must be whirling in the hearts and minds of so many families in the U.S., a louder and more forceful question pushes through and resonates the sadness that has engulfed our nation. That question is ringing in the ears of the country and reverberating from one sound wave to another...
Why are these heinous murders happening in the U.S? It is undeniable that this great country of ours is suffering mightily. Is it that mental illness is being overlooked, ignored and undiagnosed? Do our laws about gun ownership need to be strengthened and tightened in relation to mental evaluation? Are there other issues that are being missed or eluded, yet to be uncovered?
This time however...why little babies? Why murders in schools and shopping centers? Why is there so much anger that continues to bubble under the surface of the fabric of our land?
I no longer have a little one trotting off to school, climbing those big steps of a bright yellow school bus, waving a tiny little hand at me with either a big happy grin or an anxious expression of uncertainty.
I can hardly imagine the underlying fear that must be going through the minds and hearts of parents who are buttoning up their little ones, adjusting backpacks just right and sending angel kisses to their kindergarteners as they head out the door.
Riley and I watched the situation in Connecticut unfold on the computer from our kitchen table on Friday. We moved from one online news source to the other in horrified silence.
"Write a one page article on Aristotle's "Poetics" and how it relates to Creon's actions in the tragedy "Antigone". And...then another news alert would flash across the screen..."Kindergarten children possibly killed in a mass murder..."
As a mother, I looked at my son and tried to ascertain how this generation processes horrifying news in one minute and moves on with daily life in the next minute...
"Write 10 sentences in passe composé about what you did yesterday..." Another news alert, "Principle killed...parents running madly towards school to see if their children are alive or dead."
We tried to continue on with the normalcy of our day while wiping away tears of sorrow and heartache imagining the parents who one by one picked up their little children until all that were left were parents...and no more little children.
We moved from english, to history, to french with a dull semblance of regularity while watching the death toll climb.
Some children injured...
Some children killed...
An entire class unaccounted for...
10 children, 15 children, more children not reuniting with their horror struck parents.
Days before this mass murder began unfolding across the screens of the nation, I made this dessert for a wonderful friend who came into town for a business trip. We had a relaxing evening sitting around my kitchen table enjoying a sweet potato and goat cheese tart, sipping slowly on a nice merlot and catching up on our friendship that started in Michigan when our children were little babies and toddlers.
Little did we know such a heinous crime was being planned by a very young adult who must be mentally ill. I think we must all believe that this boy was deranged and ill because if he was not, then the shock and horror become magnified and completely incomprehensible.
I wanted to write about the beautiful transitioning of friendships over time. I wanted to write about how much friendships take on more meaning and depth as we as mothers and women become more relaxed and accepting of our strengths and weaknesses in this world.
But, all I can think of is how much those little kindergarten children will never grow up and sit around with close friends they have known for decades. They will never chat about the pros and cons of their sons and daughters while eating a goat cheese tart and sipping on a nice merlot.
Why? Why is this happening? We all need to welcome the dialogue that will ensue from this tragedy. Let the discussions begin over issues like gun control, mental illness, school security, family values, and divorce.
Don't be afraid to delve into all sides of these issues. Let's bat them about up and down, back and forth. Only with great discussion and attention and emotion and better understanding will solutions eventually come forward.
I don't know how we process these events. I don't know how we will embody them and make the changes in this country that need to be made. But, what is for sure, is that if we continue to move on with our days, our weeks, and months, without change...we'll be watching these scenes unfold again and again.