Today was another marathon involving cooking, pets, children and then a, "wow, it's 9p, what?!". It was also one in which the heaviness of what happened in Newtown last Friday sunk into my heart more deeply and painfully. Our children returned to school, ushered in by loving and reassuring teachers and administrators who knew how hard it was for many a parent to let them go and who, I know, felt their responsibilities as not only faculty but also protectors even more than they usually do. I listened to President Obama's speech (wonderful), read as much of the news as I could stand and finally had to shut things down when NPR reported on the first two children's funerals. I have a first grader: a 6½-year-old darling, ray of light with all the promise in the world, all the curiosity and kindness any parent could ask for, all the sincerity and openness and love to give that most every day inspires me to try a bit harder. To be a bit better. Or a bit more patient, or understanding. To consider something in a new or different way. I'd be lost if he were taken from me in a fit of a madman's frightening whimsy. I'd be angry in ways I cannot fathom, changed in ways I don't want to consider. My heart aches for the parents struggling with such a tumult of despair and loss and anger and why; not just those in Newtown but all over, in all the towns and cities that have been diminished by gun violence, torn apart in the ways bullets and senseless deaths inflict.
I feel that my orbit around my boys has contracted, that I need to see them and hold them, connect with them and love them even more than I usually do. This is so natural, I know, but it's disconcerting nonetheless because I know from what it comes. We, none of us, want to live life thinking constantly that loss could come at any time. Though that often leads to greater appreciation, it is also exhausting and largely unsustainable. Perhaps this is one reason that in the aftermath of any horrific event's aftermath, movements which have arisen to address what happened so often ebb. Most people can't keep alive the degree of sympathetic emotional intensity they feel immediately after something terrible occurs; our own lives call us back to the myriad things to which we must attend, our focus wavers, there are so many things to pay attention to, so many issue about which to feel concern.
Yet politically, this is exactly what must not happen if new legislation is to be written and passed. At junctures like these - Newtown as the extreme finale of too many violent sieges made possible by easy access to assault weapons and insanely large magazines and the concurrent lack of easy access to good mental health care (and shitty, ridiculous laws like FL's Stand Your Ground) - it should be impossible not to act. Political action should rise above politics, morality and decency should trump affiliation with party and lobbyists. It is unconscionable, or at least wildly telling, that not one pro-gun Senator was willing to go on Meet the Press this past Sunday; every one of them was invited. This is not how progress is made; it's how progress is quashed, how lost lives are disrespected. We simply must rise above because if now isn't a time when folks can come together, then I don't know what is. ~~~~ To keep myself busy (I can't believe I just wrote that; it's probably pretty clear that I'm not a lazy person), I made and froze most of an enormous batch of gumbo today; seriously, enormous, like 20 people could come to dinner, no sweat. And then decided that I was really keen on having zucchini fritters and my beloved coriander and cilantro flatbreads. These goodies plus some stuffed grape leaves made for a scrumptious Meatless Monday dinner.
Nutmeg gets cuter and cuter, and even T is pretty smitten!