I am afraid. I am afraid that my fears and disenchantment will deprive my children of the sweetness of childhood.
Looking back on my young life, I see it as a magical time, where I was sheltered by parents who had lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam War, who were raised by survivors of the Depression and two Great Wars. Despite their experiences or perhaps because of them, they helped me see sunshine and a limitless future. They taught me to believe in God and to see the kindness in others. They taught me to dream big.
Like my parents, I have witnessed devastating events, the last shards of my childhood shattered by the Columbine shootings and the September 11th terrorist attacks on America.
I began having children right at the time in my life when it seemed most frightening to do so and I am left wondering how to help them feel safe in a world that makes me feel so incredibly vulnerable.
"Trust me," I say, barely trusting myself, "and I will shield you from the heartbreaks that are huffing and puffing at our door."
Today is the day to read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Brown Bear Brown Bear, and Goodnight Moon. Today we will snuggle on the blue couch, nuzzling noses and counting our toes. Laylee will point to the purple squirrel in the backyard and I will believe her. Today the biggest injustice will be bedtime and the most devastating natural disaster will involve peanut butter body paint and the water dispenser on the refrigerator door.
There will be days for them to learn of terror and genocide, to stock up on batteries and wonder if their water supply will last until help arrives. For now, that is my responsiblity. Their job is to drink the water and play with the flashlights. Mine is to build fairy houses in the woods, to sprinkle their days with laughter and their dreams with marvelous imaginings, to fill their lives with enough light to last through the dark times.