I remember being a kid.
Even in my broken, backward home, I remember childhood. I remember running around train tracks, and in empty almost built homes in the desert. I remember Saturday morning cartoons. I remember the bully named Jennifer who seemed to delight in personal torture of me, for what reason, I will never know.
But, mostly, I remember being a kid.
With innocent pictures in my head.
And silly jokes that consisted of "Knock Knock" and "Why did the chicken cross the road?"
And sitting in trees writing poems....about trees.
On Monday, my son walked upstairs with his baby sister on his hip. "Someone just bombed the Boston Marathon." he said, trying to look like it was no big deal. I could see the pain in his eyes. "A little boy was killed. Lot's of people were blown up."
I put my head in my hands. And then, looked up at him. "Are you sure?"
He rolled his eyes, and said, "Yup. I'm sure."
This morning, that same son came upstairs with his little sisters hand clutched tightly in his as she skipped around his feet. His I-pod was in his other hand. He gulped, "Someone tried to send poison to president Obama and some other people." He looked down at his I-pod, shuffling through his music. Trying not to make eye contact with me. Then, he looked up. "What the hell is wrong with people?" he said, his voice quivering. "Why is this shit happening?"
I overlooked the colorful language. "People are angry from the inside out. Lashing out is their way of showing their pain. It's a horrible way to show pain, honey."
"Well, how can we make things safer?" He scooped up his little sister and snuggled her softly. She clung to him in loving adoration.
"We can make sure we know peace in our home. We can make sure we share peace with our neighbors. We can make sure we express peace to the world. We can actively work for peace. We can vote for peaceful policy. Every day. Every single day. And that is all we can do. It's all we have left."
"What if it doesn't work?"
"It might not. But, we have to keep trying baby. We just have to keep trying. An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind."
"A tooth for a tooth makes everyone need to eat blended hamburgers..."
"Yes. And that's disgusting."
He smiled softly and sighed.
I remember being a child, with child thoughts. My children haven't gotten to experience that. They are growing up in a world where towers fall, and people are dieing in movie theaters, school rooms, and in celebratory races. They are growing up knowing that crazy people have access to weaponry that NO ONE should have. They are growing up knowing that their dad works with people struggling with poverty and mental illness and anger management issues...and that he spends every waking moment trying to help. And help.
They are living in a world that needs peace.
So that the children can be children.
So that we may all know what it's like to open up the news, and see.....that the day is just beautiful, and a baby was born, and someone helped a neighbor, and the world was safe.