Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Change Within (part 1 of 2)

A million years ago when I was doing Blogger Bingo, I wrote this post and alluded to another one I never got around to. This is mostly because I never felt I could do it justice, but something happened today that made me wish I’d written it, so that I could piggy-back on it. It’s hard to piggy-back on a post you never wrote. Blast.

So, let’s do this in reverse order, shall we? The bank across the street from my office was robbed this afternoon. For the rest of the day, the parking lot was full of police vans and dogs and yellow crime scene tape and the whole bit. I went online looking for information about what happened and nothing has hit the internet yet. But, I did find this story, which was quite the feel-good read. Three cheers for judges who honor same-sex families, even when a former member of that family refuses to do so. I also found a terrible story I won’t link to about something awful a person did to a child, and, like the total idiot that I am, I clicked on it. I knew better, but for some inexplicable reason, I did it anyway. So now I’m sitting here feeling sad and sick and wishing I could visit a certain someone in jail and inflict some extraordinary form of torture. (Any of you who know, or even suspect, what I do for a living should be able to appreciate how out of character this kind of punitive thinking is for me.) All of this brings me to a change I have seen in myself since becoming a mother. The change has a few separate but related parts:

First, I want all good things for all children everywhere - not in a trite or cliche way, but in a deep and emotional way, and not only the Big Things beauty pageant queens talk about (world peace, an end to hunger, and so on). The Big Things are obvious and go without saying because we all want them – always have, always will. And knowing we don’t even have those makes my desire for the more subtle things even more ridiculous, but I still want them. I want every kid to have soft pajamas and books with colorful pictures in them. I want kids to have food they like to eat and toys to play with in the bathtub. Every child I hear, read or think about becomes Elliot in my mind, and I want the same good things for them as I do for him.

More than that, I think, I want moms everywhere to be able to give their children these things. Becoming a mother has made me profoundly sensitive to the desire to provide your children with the best of everything. I find myself at a loss for words in expressing my empathy for moms who are unable to do so. I feel so in tune to the struggle of mothers now. When I think about poverty, hunger or violence, I instantly identify with the mothers and I feel real grief over the barriers they face in providing their children with security and comfort. This is not to say I don’t feel for the children, too. Of course I do, but I always have. The change, for me, is in my new-found identification with the mothers and the second layer that adds to my understanding of the world we live in. I have been familiar with the cliché about children causing your heart to exist outside of your body for a long time now, but I couldn’t fully appreciate its magnitude until Elliot came along.

And on that note, I have to leave this for now. If I don't post what I have, this will just fall into the pile of unfinished blog posts in my draft folder (4 already there at the moment, FYI, all written and not posted in the last 2 weeks) so I'm posting what I have, but I promise to pick it up again soon, as I still haven't made it back to the Blogger-Bingo-post-that-wasn't.

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