Things have been silent around here. Mainly, I haven't had the right words to say, in light of the tragedy this past Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary. I work with two six-year-old girls that, if they were to fall victim to such unthinkable violence, I would be irrevocably changed. Add to that the fact that I'm a mother - foremost to everything else that I am, I am a mother first - and whereas most acts of violence I can easily put into perspective, this one still leaves me teary-eyed four days later. I can not begin to imagine the pain, and I feel guilty for not allowing myself to.
But now, four days later, I have found a handful of words that make me feel better. This morning, I saw a video put together by two boys whose two sisters were bullied and their house graffiti-covered because they have Down Syndrome. These boys, ages 6 & 7, are going viral with the purpose of renouncing the stigma of a mental disability and, specifically, the word "retard" - an outdated, hurtful term no one should ever utter.
It seems like small potatoes compared to the dozens of people - children, at that - who lost their lives, but it gives me hope.
Children, despite that they live in a time where fear in schools is becoming increasingly commonplace, have hope. They're the future of this great nation, and this great world - our future voters, at that - and they want to make a difference. They want to break down barriers.
We have an African-American President. And it's no big deal. Which, the fact that the mindset is that it's no big deal, is a huge deal. How far we've come in fifty years in the fight for equality.
This past election, several states voted by popular vote to not outlaw same-sex marriage. The majority of the population? They're kind of awesome. They believe in equality, tolerance, and love, in the fact of the vast minority that chooses hate.
So today, I'm going to focus on that. I'm going to take comfort in the fact that my child will grow up in a world that improves every day, that progresses all the time, that is becoming increasingly tolerant. I have hope she'll never remember a day where rights were granted selectively. I'll take heart in the fact that, in the wake of this tragedy, the outpouring of love from all corners of the world has been breathtaking. And I will recognize that love and tolerance and acceptance and all the things that light this occasionally dark world? They start at home, with behaviors we model to her, and acts of kindness we teach.
We're planning to spend the next week before Christmas doing good deeds for those in need. Cookies to a fire station (thank you, Kristin, of Two Cannoli for the inspiration!)? Sure thing! Buying a present off a "giving tree" for a child Ava's age? Check! Please, feel free to inspire me here on things that get overlooked, for we want to do it all.
It is our purpose that from this tragedy, some good will come. Some humanity will be salvaged. Someone else will be inspired to do good, and then in turn inspire others, and so on. We cannot bring those children back, but we can act in ways that will mean that their deaths go on to mean so much.
I may continue to be silent for a while. I'm still struggling with the events, tearing up at Ava's ballet class because I'm just so damn glad she's here and I'm here and we have one another and David, and I just feel like anything else is insignificant. But I'll be back when I'm ready, and will do my best to speak love into the hearts of everyone I meet, and make everyone's life a little better. Sure, I'm always going to have a snarky and sarcastic side, and I'll never enjoy traffic until the day I'm behind the wheel of a Range Rover (some things never change...), but I wish you all unspeakable joy.
Hug your babies, folks, and be mindful of the imprint you leave on the world.