Longing for fireworks.

I’ve noted before that scrapbooking is as foreign and terrifying to me as nuclear physics. Because of this “completely rational” fear, my hope has always been that this blog will serve my daughters as a record of the joys and challenges of parenting and happenings in the life of their family. I’ve refrained from posting about things like the tragic Sandy Hook event because…well…honestly, I didn’t have the strength to do so. It was all I had in me to keep driving to work that morning. I assumed history would retell the public events for my children to study if they chose. Although I am a person who is clearly more comfortable putting her emotions in print rather than in verbal form, writing about that day was, for me, unfathomable.

After yesterday’s events in Boston, though, I noticed a parenting issue that seems to be happening more and more frequently, so perhaps I see a connection to what I write about for my girls.

All parents find themselves frequently in the “skipping record” form of communication that is parenting. Examples in my house include…

“Yes, you have to shower/bathe/brush your teeth EVERY SINGLE DAY. Hygiene happens to be a daily activity”

“Yes, you have to wear underwear!”

“No, you can’t have 5 more minutes!”

“Stop feeding the dog with the spoon…that you’re still using to eat.”

Every parent would have their own variation but most repeated comments wouldn’t bring about dread, just the frustration that comes from feeling like no one is listening.

Yesterday though, as I picked the older girls from school, the new phrase that I noticed I’m saying with greater repeatability was indeed coupled with dread…

“Girls, something happened and we need to talk about it because you’re going to hear about it at school and I want you to have the facts.”

What is most difficult for me is the question that always follows and the one that I never,ever have an answer for…

“Why would someone do that?!”

And I have to say…

“I just.don’t.know.”

Any child will tell you this is the statement that causes the anxiety to raise because parents are supposed to know everything. Parents are supposed to reassure, comfort and make sense of the confusing. I don’t know about you but I’m unable to make sense of any of these insane events.

Avery usually falls silent…going inside her own head to search for logical explanations and comfort. Laney is much more vocal in her method of seeking comfort. She will launch into a diatribe of possibilities..,peppering any person listening with possible thoughts- watching their reactions in hopes of seeing a spark of confirmation…no matter how absurd her ramblings. She will finally ask the question which encompasses the source of her inquisition…

“but we’re totally safe here, right??”

This forces me to do the one thing I try so hard to avoid as a parent.

I lie.

“yes, baby girl, we’re totally safe here.”

But the fact is…I don’t know that we are. Even if middle America contains fewer chances for mass casualties based solely on our reduced numbers, I notice the “casualty” of the raised stress levels we all live with. A crash of restaurant dishes no longer brings a quick startle followed by Greek-wedding-inspired hollers of “Opa!!” People jump, grab loved ones, clutch their chests. We live in a heightened state of awareness even if we’re not conscious of it. Sporting events are no longer just fun days out for family memories…they are prime targets.

I’m an optimist by nature…although you might not read that in this blog post. I’m not a person who thinks “it’s all going to hell in a hand basket.” That being said, I do mourn the loss of carefree outings that I think are a thing of the past. I may be wrong, but I don’t think my children will continue to grow in a society that I did…One where if you were at an event and heard blasts ring through the air, your first reaction was to gasp, turn and squeal with delight…

“Where are the FIREWORKS?!?!”

Personally, I’m longing for fireworks.


  1. So sad and beautifully written, Suzy.

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