Radio Silence... and a Song in my Heart

If you haven't been paying attention to US news, this week has been pretty freaking terrible. The bombings at the Boston Marathon on Monday were horrific. Then, reports that mail directed to President Obama and a US senator contained the poison ricin (which might prompt one to eerily recall the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent letters laced with anthrax spores just seven days later). In West, Texas, a fertilizer plant exploded, destroying a significant portion of the town, killing several and wounding many more. And then, we saw the US Senate's bill proposing universal background checks be required for the purchase of firearms get shot down. ...

And in the middle of all this, Kiddo is celebrating his sixth birthday. 

What's a Mom to do? I couldn't turn my brain off, but I needed to be able to be present (and happy, festive) for my little guy. Six is a special birthday, and he's my sweetie-pie. He deserved to have parents who could enjoy his birthday with him. 

So, I've kept the radio off. The television off. Joe and I haven't discussed any of these scary things in front of Kiddo. We are respecting his innocence. We want him to feel that his birthday is the most important thing to us right now, because he's six and he deserves to continue to think in such naive ways. It won't be something we can sustain forever, but right now, we are letting him have a little peace. 

I enjoyed Wednesday thoroughly. The sun was out; I walked the 2 mile round trip (most of it with one of his honorary Aunties) in the beautiful Portland springtime to get Kiddo some cupcakes for that evening. The flowers are blooming, the dogwoods pink and white are just radiant. We were determined to drink in the day, and talked briefly--only briefly-- about current events, about looking for the helpers and about how the media so mismanages these events. That morning Kiddo had opened his presents; that night, we had a good dinner and savored our cupcakes.

Thursday was harder. I cried a bit yesterday night. The television has been mostly off all week,  and I was surprised by some images of the blasts, images of horror-stricken, devastated people. People just like my neighbors, just like the people I love. My heart caved in and I wept for a while, getting out all those emotions I'd kept in check this week. 

And today the manhunt for the second suspect in the bombings is all over the airwaves. This morning meant a shopping trip for a small 'friends' birthday party tomorrow. As I waited for the bus home, my backpack and another bag besides, all loaded with snacks and birthday entertainments and cupcake mix, an old Rogers and Hammerstein tune, "It Might As Well Be Spring" came to me. I have a great version of it sung by Buddy Divito on a 1945 Harry James radio show cd. No one was at the bus stop with me, and so I began to sing. 

I'm as busy as a spider spinning daydreams,
I'm as giddy as a baby on a swing,
I haven't seen a crocus or a rosebud,
Or a robin or a bluebird on the wing,
But I feel so gay in a melancholy way,
That it might as well be spring,

Even though the world feels shaken up, I will keep moving forward. Like the song says, I am happy but there is a current of sadness which runs through these days. For the next few days, when Kiddo is around, the radio will stay off.  The television is off in the daytime as usual. We will keep our heads in the game. The song I sang lifted my heart for a moment, and it's these moments I have to hold onto. I have a house to clean, a floor to vacuum, cupcakes to make, dishes to do, streamers to hang.... and I have faith that it will all get done.

We keep pushing on, in the face of the worst of what some people in the world has to offer. It seems like things have piled up since last  year, with so many shootings (Aurora, Colorado; Clackamas Town Center here in Portland; Newtown, Connecticut,; and so many  more I can't even think of them all)... all these tragedies. Maybe it's part of the human spirit, to keep going. "Don't ever let them win" sings Neil Finn, and these words have been inscribed onto my heart for the past few months. We keep going, keep pushing forward. It doesn't make the tragedy and hurt and heartache of it all any less, not at all. But perhaps the lesson is to savor and appreciate life all the more, because it is so very, very precious. 

My heart goes out to those in Boston, those in West, Texas, and to all of those who have very heavy hearts this week. May we all be blessed with moments of peace.


Hakea said…
Yes, six is a very special birthday. It's a fabulous year.

I don't normally listen to the news. I am largely unaware of what is happening in the world. But, these events tuned me into what is happening in the world. And it was disturbing. Around the same time as Boston and Texas, there were natural disasters in Iran and China, killing and displacing many. Bombs going off in other places of the world. And Korea is ticking.

In Australia, the first story on the news was that a race horse was retiring. And just in case we didn't get the gravity of this situation, it was featured again in the sports section of the news. Is it only in Australia that the headlining stories are of racehorses and Kylie Minogue?


Good on you for being present to your six year-old's birthday. Love, connection, belonging, care and nurture are so very important in these times. There will always be hard times but he will never be six again.
Hi there,

I don't think our worlds are actually that much different. Aside from horrid events, we usually get the "racehorses and Kylie" equivalent. Only it's Justin Bieber and Nascar. :)

Yes, North Korea is troubling. Funny thing is, I think like a childcare provider so my opinion is 'sit down and talk to the attention-seeking kid, see if we can meet a need and de-escalate the situation', while the powers that be won't dignify his remarks with any discussion. sigh.

All of the natural disasters globally only make me wonder more when our Cascadia Subduction Zone is going to get the big shake up. Unsettling to have in the back of one's mind.

But at least the birthday party went well! :)

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