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Archive for October, 2012


A child is murdered

Several weeks ago, two girls were abducted in the neighboring states of Wyoming and Colorado.  One survived, one did not.  As I was following the stories, and reading the Amber Alert of little Jessica Ridgeway, my 5 year old walked over to me and saw her photo.  “Who is that?” he asked.  I explained it was a little girl who was missing.  I didn’t do this lightly.  My child is five.  I try to shelter him from the evils of the world, but he needs to understand that there are “bad people” out there.  While I do not want to terrify him, he needs to understand that the world is not a perfect place. 


There is a missing child.  He gets that concept.  “Why would somebody take her?” he asks.   I tell him because there are bad people in the world.  “Will he kill her?”  he asks.  I’m not prepared for that. 


My 5 year old understands the concept of murder.  Five.  Great, when did that happen, I wonder.  I’m honest with him; I do not know.  Now he is getting agitated.  Why can’t the police find her and take her back to her mommy?   Not all of these stories have happy endings like Finding Nemo, I tell him.  THIS IS WHY YOU CAN’T LEAVE MY SIDE, I silently scream to him.  I explain again that there are bad people.  I don’t know why they do what they do.  There are not a lot of bad people, but they are out there. 


“Why can’t we get in the car and go out there and find her?” 


“Yeah, why can’t we?” my inner 5 year old asks the “big” me.  Because my job is more important than a missing child?  Because I would feel useless, not knowing where to look?  My son is looking at me with pleading eyes.  They seem to say, “What if that was me?  Wouldn’t you want the whole country looking for me?”   I explain to him that she lives very far away, and this bad man could have taken her anywhere in the country.  I suggest that we pray.  He seems to accept this. 


Days later, the police find a body, and then confirm the identity.  I realize in the excitement of the Chuck E Cheese birthday party over the weekend, Colin has not asked about her.  I hope he forgets, but I know he won’t.  Monday morning, we are barely out of the driveway when he asks me about the missing girl.  “Did they find her yet?”  he asks.  I pause.  “Honey, she is dead.  They found her, but it was too late.  She died.”  I try to hurriedly explain that while her Mommy and Daddy are so sad and miss her, that she is OK now.  She is very happy and with Jesus.  I say that as much as parents love their children, Jesus loves them even more.  I say it’s hard to understand but its true and she is so happy right now, she isn’t missing anyone.  She is safe and warm and loved by God. 

Amazingly, he seems OK with this answer.  We go on to school, and there is no more mention of it. 


Days later, he tells me he wants to be a policeman.  I ask him why.  He stops what he is doing, looks me straight in the eye, and says, “So I can kill the bad people.  You know.” 


Yes, I do know. 


Right vs Happy

I once heard a story: On his daughter’s wedding day, the father approached his future son-in-law. “Son,” he said, “I want to give you some advice. I’m not saying this because you are marrying my daughter, but because I am married to her mother. You can be right, or you can be happy, but you will NOT be both.”

This has become a popular saying in my family now. While it’s a funny story, there is also some truth to it. I come from two very opinionated families. I grew up believing that if you want your side to be heard, you just talk louder and faster than the other person. Seems simple enough. At family gatherings, it’s not uncommon for me to carry on two or three (maybe four) conversations at one time, and they are not always with people in the same room. That’s OK: I am a loud talker. This is my “normal.”

Let’s review: I talk loudly, I talk very fast, and I am never wrong. I may not be right, but I’m never wrong. There’s a difference. If I have to explain it to you, you won’t get it.

Moving on…

Two nights ago, I was faced with a choice: shut up, be wrong, and get out of the way, or life as you know it will cease to exist. Done.

Really? That is unacceptable. Do you know why? BECAUSE I AM RIGHT! It gets worse. If I have to be “not right,” I will not be happy. Oh no way. NO WAY IN HELL. NEVER. Because this is all WRONG. Decisions being made will change life as I know it anyway. Maybe not as bad as the ultimatum, but I think still rather devastating.

This is what makes it SO unacceptable: This is about children. Kids. MY kids. Oh wait, they are not really mine. I’ve just helped raise them for the last nine or ten years. My vote doesn’t count. My opinion isn’t wanted. My feelings do not matter. All of the positive things I have done for them are not even acknowledged. There are a LOT of moments I was there when others weren’t. It all means nothing.

Here is the kicker. I do have a child in the middle of all of this. And it’s pretty much summed up as this: sacrifice the two that aren’t mine, for the one that is. Of course, when everything goes to hell, I will certainly be in the middle cleaning up the mess. There is no way to keep me out of it when it impacts my life. There is no way to keep my child out of this. It will impact him as well.

This isn’t even about trust. This is about letting go. I feel these children are lost to me. I have to remember they were never mine. They are His (and his and hers). I have to place this in the hands of God. I find no comfort in this yet. It’s not over. I’m not sure this can even be repaired or that I may truly lose them. I do know have no control over this.

Yet in the middle of this, laundry must be done, dishes need to be washed, soccer practice continues and I will still go to my 50+ hr a week job, while trying to run a household while being neither right nor happy. Life goes on.

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