We’ve spent a lot of time this past month watching the classic animated tale, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” It is not entirely pleasurable for my children. The Grinch scares them, but they cannot look away. They are mesmerized by him.
When my older daughter claims she sees a pair of red eyes outside the window, we say, “No, honey, grinches aren’t real.”
When she says she can’t go upstairs alone because a grinch might “get her,” we remind her again that grinches aren’t real.
On Friday afternoon, as I sat listening to the radio in the car, hearing the President’s reaction to the mass murders at an elementary school in a small town in Connecticut, my children asked, “What happened, Mom?”
And I told them, “A bad guy walked into a school and hurt some people.” And immediately, Scout said, “But bad guys aren’t real, mommy.”
And I thought to myself, Yes, they are.
I am grateful for my Grinch-loving girls. Their youthful innocence helped me get through that day. But I did tell them last Friday that sometimes Bad Guys are real. They didn’t seem shocked by that revelation. I tried to use the simplest version of the truth, but in time I know these conversations will become more difficult as inch by inch the underbelly of the world is revealed.
Prayers to Newtown, prayers of love, comfort and peace. Answers may never come, and even if they do, what good are they to a parent who lost his or her child? To the daughter who lost her mother? To the husband who lost his wife? They don’t care if it was gun control, mental health or a poorly-settled conflict to blame–they want their loved ones back. No answer to the question “Why did this happen?” can give them that. If you are interested in reading more on the reaction to the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary and the loss of so many innocent people, here are a few posts that gave me support. I hope they can help you, too, if you seek that. (If you know of others, please add them to the comments.)
From Virginia, Psalm 23
From Kenneth Todd, (at Virginia’s suggestion) Tiny Angels
From Mostly Bright Ideas, New Town
From Maria, Sandyhook Requiem
From the Anarchist Soccermom, Thinking the Unthinkable (you may have seen this one circulating)
From Julie at George. Jessie. Love, What I Want & What I Cannot
For those of you sending your children to school Monday morning, or going to work at a school Monday morning, I wish you strength.