So. It's five days after a bunch of first-graders were murdered in Connecticut. I want to blog about it because I can't imagining NOT blogging about it--talk about your elephants in the room--but I'm having a hard time figuring out what to say.
I really appreciated the post on mental illness and gun control at Rage Against the Minivan. (Kristen Howerton is a therapist and I think it shows.) I read the post, "I am Adam Lanza's Mother." I listened to my housekeeper say that she thinks teachers ought to carry guns, and to my friend Mack, who always travels with a gun or three in his pickup, say that he thought it was time to ban assault weapons. I prayed for the victims at Mass on Sunday.
Mostly I thought WTF.
Can you remember yourself in first grade? I had long hair I wore in two ponytails, one on each side. After two years, I'd finally grown new front teeth (I'd lost my baby teeth early, falling off a swing). I knew how to read, fluently, and was beyond disgusted with those beginning readers 'Dick and Jane' which I read completely in about a minute. I adored my teacher, Mrs. Colvin, even though she wouldn't give me anything more interesting to read.
I was in a Brownie troop. I had surgery to remove a tumor that turned out to be benign. In the spring each grade studied a foreign country: first grade did Japan. I learned how to sing a song about cherry trees, in Japanese.
Do you remember yourself at first grade? Your children? Mine were so small. They were bold, and funny, and beautiful--they still are.
There is no why for things like this. WTF?
That's a question someone once asked Cheryl Strayed, when she was answering questions as advice columnist Sugar at the Rumpus internet magazine. Nothing else, just "WTF?" Strayed responded with a long, personal, and deeply moving essay, and then she wrote, "Ask better questions, sweetpea. The f-- is your life. Answer it."
This is our life, in a world where first graders die. It's clear to me that we'll have to answer it, but I still don't know how.