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April 28, 2005 | Category:

Pray for the children.

Children will hurt themselves. They will cut themselves, starve themselves, fail everything they should be attempting. They will bait their parents, their teachers, their peers.

It is all they can do to try and get what they want or need. Children have so little influence over their own existence. What they wear, eat, or do is often dictated by the big people all around them.

They know they are powerless in so many ways - and the love/hate relationship they have with dependancy will dictate so much of their attitudes towards the world as they grow.

I've seen it in Bear. Not yet equipped enough to explain what he needs or feels, he will act out. He will signal with behavior that something is wrong.

Frustrated to communicate what hurts. Frustrated to make it better.

I'll watch as he withdraws into himself. Climbs up into his lofted bed and seeks the stash of pacifiers he keeps by his pillow and clutches them in little chubby hands. Laying across the mattress on his back, thumping his feet against the wall, sorting it out in his mind.

Sometimes, that's enough and he comes out of his room in a better place. Other times, he waits for one of us, his treasured adults, to come in after him and help him give voice to what is inside.

His big blue eyes will reflect the vulnerability and confusion inside of him. It's as though, each time, he is realizing that Briton Fisherman's prayer - "O God, thy sea is so great, and my boat is so small."

We coax him back into the bubble we have created for him. We look up at the plastic planets hanging from the ceiling of his room. At the fish in the fishtank swimming happily. We listen to what hurts, what scares, what angers and we find a way to put the bad thing in a box. Then we decorate the box or beat up the box or sink it.

He'll feel stronger again. Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy and all his illusions carefully back in place.

This is our job.

To make sure that Bear is convinced that there are no monsters under the bed that we won't vanquish for him. That he inhabits a world he believes is safe - in which his parents are towering superheroes, his independence sacrosanct, and his voice always heard. Even when he is forced to speak with actions because he does not yet know the words.

Like the tulips he plucked from our carefully planted garden and presented to me with flourish, to tell me last weekend that he loves me like he loves pretty flowers.

Like the other night, after working for 11 straight hours on a conference call that was a marathon of frustration. I crawled up into bed with Bear and snuggled him as he was starting to drift off. I hadn't connected with him all day. We giggled and whispered about nothing at all.

Then he smelled my breath. My stinky otter breath. He turned and said that he just remembered that he hadn't brushed his teeth yet. Bear happily slid (like this bed) down to the floor, turned and looked up at my tired face. "Mommy, do you want me to bring you your toothbrush?" (This was more than a *hint*.)

"No," I smiled. "I can do it for myself, thank you.”

"So can I!" he announced happily. Then he marched off to do just that.

He was excited to be “big enough” to brush his own teeth.


This imoment, and millions of other like it, are the reason why tragedies like Beslan rip at our souls.

There exists a blood obligation, as parents and as humans, to protect the children.

Because these are the ones who can’t protect themselves.

And then I realized that although it sickens me, I am not surprised that 400 children in Sweden are starving themselves to death in a living comas.

Their passivity is the tool they have and they are wielding it in desperation.

They have no other way to face or change the world that has failed them. They are powerless to make themselves safe.

Because outside their own small bodies, they are powerless.

Even to demand a safe place to live.

So powerless.

Except against themselves.

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Tagged: Corporate, Mommy, Life


There are moments, when you write, that you flat out take my breath away.

And, yes, I agree, the children need protection.

Posted by: RP on April 28, 2005 12:51 PM