It may seem as though I have been unusually quiet lately. Here is why…
Last Thursday, Henry and I tried to get away on a small escape. A few days to reconnect, rekindle, and simply just be together. Our kids are at camp, and we thought we would take advantage of a few days together – just us. No need to explain the reasons why. If you are married with kids, you get it. Adult Only Children you get it, too.
As soon as WE landed at our destination on Thursday, my mother-in-law landed in the hospital, followed by an armed gunman taking the lives of innocent victims on a movie outing in Colorado and the University that I attended for 4 years and graduated from with high honors receiving its sanctions by the NCAA.
After spending the majority of our first day away on the phone with various people back home, we determined that what we originally thought was a stroke was actually an extreme case of dehydration with my mother-in-law. Henry and I are both only children so we are often alone on an island to deal with these things, and we were pretty certain that we would have to return the same day we arrived.
Huge thanks to my Aunt Barb, who went into management mode along with a few good friends in helping us navigate what was happening and determine nothing much until Monday. We decided to stay on our peaceful, relaxing getaway with out kids. On Friday, I slept in until 6:45 a.m. People! That is like noon for me. I awoke to the awful tragedy in Aurora, Colorado. While, Henry spoke back and forth with the hospital. I was glued to the TV. As a parent, a human being, a social worker, a compassionate human being, I was tormented emotionally by this tragedy.
The escape weekend went on. There was a glass of wine or two, a 5 mile run, and a really good meal, but no more sleeping in – one day was enough. As my mother-in-law finally perked up from IV fluids and was able to chat more on the phone, we felt a bit better yet unsettled about her next step. Yes, we would move our flight up a bit to handle her discharge.
I began to dive into treasured bloggers’ opinions on what happened in Colorado. I was stricken with nausea over the blame fest – why was there a parent at the movies with their baby? Who needs to go to a midnight show? Who takes their kid to see Batman? (I intend to.) I don’t need to reiterate the points, Liz Gumbinner says it better here, and Heather Spohr is brilliant here, and Lisa Belkin shares her perspective here. I just know that going to the movies at any time does not indicate being shot, killed, or otherwise. For me, the movies are a special treat that often end with a stomach ache from eating too much candy and popcorn.
The getaway came to a close. I watched the news at the airport as my alma mater, Penn State, was fined, sanctioned and punished by the NCAA. Believe me, I am not in disagreement. They deserved it. A football department should not be left to govern itself no matter how many wins and how much money they bring to a university. I failed to mention that I also watched the statue of Joe Paterno come down over the weekend on TV (obviously, I watch I lot of news).
The Joe Paterno of my memories…the cute, short, old guy with glasses walking around campus was a myth, a fallacy, an evil person who turned his head on little boys being sexually abused. As a mom, a mom to boys, a human, a parent, a social worker, and a compassionate human being I cannot defend Paterno turning a blind eye on someone who knowingly was harming children in the most awful way ever.
Anyway, what is the point of this long winded rant. Not to bitch, not to complain about my weekend – I will tell you that. Not to cause any more pain than anyone is already feeling over the devastation in Colorado or the long history of abuse that occurred at PSU. Certainly not to call attention to our own personal woes with my MIL, but rather to share this:
On late Saturday afternoon, as Henry and I were driving in our rental car in sunny Florida with the windows down, I shared a moment with a stranger. We were stopped at a light, and very pregnant woman was walking back from the beach. You know the kinda huge, about to pop, beached whale big? I can say that because I know as a woman who was pregnant twice, we all feel that way at the end.
As the woman walked by, I could not help but to notice that she was glowing. Simply radiating happiness and excitement. I smiled back at her with the biggest, brightest smile I had in days. I just thought to myself…this is what is so good about this world. The expecting a baby glow, the anticipation of a new mom, the expectation of new possibilities. When struck with awful tragedy, deep mourning around the country, a fallen University, and my MiL not being well, there is still the bright light of a new baby.
It is that lightness of spirit that we must cling to..for the victims. We must still go to movies and not blame the people who are dead that if they just had not gone to the movies, they would be alive. I am still a graduate of PSU. I didn’t play football, and I certainly would have taken different action if I knew what was going on. My MIL was in good caring hands, and this would have happened whether we were in town or not.
We must LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE, AND not blame. Not blame others, ourselves, or both. We must band together in times of tragedy and think of the smiling, glowing pregnant woman walking down the street because that will help us make it through brimming with optimism.
**Better Late than Never. I thought about this tragedy all weekend, and I am thankful for the gorgeous strange pregnant woman who crossed my path and made me think and smile.