Tuesday, December 18, 2012

An unusually sentimental entry

I'm not all that sentimental.  I tend to see it as sappy.  But, it seems appropriate this week to be a little squishy, sticky,  sappy.

I found this link through a friend on Facebook.  What on earth would I do without Facebook?  I'd have no idea what's going on in the world.

Moments that restored our faith in humanity this year.

And I do hold the opinion that the majority of people are good.  I point out the fact that parents will help other parents in a crisis.  It's because we know what they're going through.  We know the feeling of being faced with the fullest, poop stuffed diaper we've ever encountered in a public bathroom and finding there are no wipes in the diaper bag.  Other parents will gladly hand over some wipes with the comment, "Oh, I have soooo been there.  You have a clean diaper?"

I've also noticed that when the Westboro Baptist Church demonstrates the coverage is not about the church members, it's about the counter-demonstrators who block the signs or the bikers who surround them to rev their big engines to drown out their shouts.  They don't turn and scream at the Phelps family, they just turn their backs and keep them hidden.  We know the Phelps family hates everyone and thinks everyone is going to Hell.  But the grieving who are going to the funeral of a fallen soldier don't need to see them.   They have the right to state their opinion.  The rest of us have the right to be offended and protect others from their vitriol.

Most people will do the right thing when faced with that choice.  A mom will stop to ask a crying child what's wrong.  (And a good way to handle a lost child it is to ask the child what their mom's name is.  Then start yelling "Ann!  Ann!  AAAAANNNNNNN!!!! I've got Cody!  He's over here!"  without asking the child to come with you, which they're not supposed to do.  Probably an hysterical woman will run up to squeeze the breath out the kid and thank you profusely.)  A man driving a Roto Rooter truck will pull over to help someone change a tire.  Did you know those Rooter guys give out their home numbers and tell customers to call them if they need any help with their plumbing.  Then they'll come help out for free.

There are all kinds of examples.

I'm trying to learn to be comfy with being optimistic and find the good in things.    It feels strange to me.

But these stories are helping.

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  A little sparkle on your face is festive and fun during the holidays.  Just don't over do it, unless you are Lady Gaga and then go for it!

Monday, December 17, 2012

There just isn't an answer, but there is some hope

I've been following the news about the Newtown shooting.  I am still devastated.  I cried again while President Obama read the names of the victims.  I cried when I first saw the list online because of all the ages listed as '6'.  I got two names in and had to stop.

I keep circling back to the thought:  What do you do with their presents?  What if they're already wrapped?  What about the ones that aren't wrapped?  What do you do with them?

I know everyone is horrified and angry and looking for the answer as to why this happened and what will keep it from happening again.

There is no clear answer.  The discussions are turning to gun control and how to treat mental illness, which is good.  Discussion is good.

However,  I've also seen things like this t-shirt showing up:

In the movie Jesus Camp one of the evangelical mothers says that prayer was taken out of schools and the schools are now falling apart.

If bringing prayer and worship into schools will prevent any more children being killed in their school I'm all for bringing it back.  If praying in school will increase the public school budget and bring our quality of education up to the level where it should be for the richest nation on the planet, I'll agree to let my children get down on their knees and bow down to whatever deity the committee decides is the right one.

Submersion baptism?  Sure.  Bring it on.  Daily communion?  Okay.  If THAT is the answer, let's do that right now.  I'll go get a glow in the dark Mary for my son's table.  My kids need a Bible for required daily reading?  Fine.

If bringing God into school will keep this from happening I'm all for it!

But it won't.

God is welcome everywhere in Afghanistan.

I know we all want a simple act, something we can do that will guarantee something like this won't happen again.  There isn't.  There isn't any one thing we can do.

It makes the tragedy that much more senseless because we can't do any one thing to keep it from happening again. 

I do want to point out, that the lock-down drill worked in exactly the way it was supposed to.  The classroom doors were locked, the blinds were pulled.  The teachers got the children into the safest place they could find.

In one case, a teacher got all 14 of her students into the little bathroom in her classroom.

The clerk working in the library found the main doors into the hallway wouldn't lock. She got the kids into the supply closet that locked.  She pushed file cabinets in front of the door before finding paper and crayons for the children.  She wouldn't open the doors until an officer pushed his badge under the door.

All the adults in the school, the custodian who ran down the hallway to warn the classrooms, the secretary in the office who kept answering her phone when teachers called from their classrooms to tell them there was a shooter in the school and lock down, the psychologist and principal who were killed as they ran at the shooter, all of them protected the children there.   None of them dove out the window and ran away in an attempt to save themselves.  They all put themselves between the children and the danger.

There is a Jewish belief I've mentioned before.  It is that if there are 13 righteous people on the planet, life can go on.  It doesn't have to be the same 13 people every day, but there have to be 13.  It can be the person who finds a disoriented elderly person and calls for help for them.  It can be a child who tells other kids to stop making fun of someone.  It can be these people who protected the students in their school.

In a way, it makes me feel better about being part of the human race.  There ARE people in the world who will do the right thing, even if it involves terror and the chance of being killed.  There ARE humans who will put themselves last to make sure someone else can be spared.

It give me hope.  

I'm still crying whenever I see the pictures of the children who died.  But I am finding comfort in the heroism that was shown on Friday.

I don't know what we need to do to stop something like this from happening again. 

And I don't know exactly what my point is here.  I'm upset and I need to type about it.

Friday, December 14, 2012


I came home after being out for the late morning feeling good.  I'd completed my new hire paperwork for the baking job I've been hired for at a large, upscale grocery store.  I purchased a gift for my daughter to take to a birthday party tonight.    I'd also gotten the final supplies I needed to complete the handicrafts I need to finish so I can get them off in the mail.  Among my haul were also a copy of "Muppet Christmas Carol", probably my favorite holiday movie, and a roll of wrapping paper.

I was looking forward to working on the gifts I'm making and watching "It's a Wonderful Life."  I was planning on making cocoa for my kids when they got home.  It was really a very nice day I was having.

When I arrived I logged into Facebook, because that's what I do.  I saw all kinds of posts about a school shooting.  Oh no.  Oh no no no.  Not another one.

I got online to find out what happened.  According to MSN.com, a 20 year old man went to the elementary school where his mother taught kindergarten. He shot her.  He then shot over 20 children.

CHILDREN.  Children who had done nothing to him.  They hadn't caused his fucked up mental state.  They weren't hurting him.  All I can do is cry.

Cry about the senselessness of this.  Cry about the torment and hurt and anger that the parents of these children are going to be feeling.  I can't even begin to imagine what they are going through. What they must be enduring.  The worst thing that can possibly happen to a parent, losing a child.

Losing your child, I can't even think about it without coming close to a panic attack.  To send your child out into the big, wide world to a place they are supposed to be safe only to learn they have been killed by a crazy person who thought it would be a good idea to shoot children.

Then going home to look at the Christmas tree and see the ornaments they made, their stockings hanging on the mantle.  Going into their rooms and looking at their beds that will not be slept in again.  No more kissing them good night.  No more nagging them to brush their teeth or pick up their towels.  No more surprising them with a trip to McDonald's.  No watching them rush to the fireplace on Christmas morning to see what Santa left them.

The silence has to be deafening.

How can you shoot children?  What kind of monster walks into an elementary school with a gun?

Yes, I called him a monster because that's what he is.  A monster.

We can debate gun control until we're all screaming so loud our faces turn red and it won't bring one of these children back to their parents.  Coulda, shoulda, woulda, who expects someone to walk into a school with a big-ass gun and mow down little kids?

I tell my kids I love them every day.  I've told then I will always love them no matter what they do.  Even when they do something that makes me mad, I love them.

I'm not a perfect mom, but they know I love them and I will always love them no matter what.

I can only cry and hope that the parents will eventually be able to get out of bed and continue on with life.  There is no statement of condolence that will make them feel better.  Casseroles or baked goods can't possibly fix the wound that they've suffered.

I'm horrified and sad.