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,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.
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,
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.