From earthquakes to goody bags

My kid are playing earthquake with their dollhouse right now. They’re shaking it and flinging it around, and they’ve broken a bunkbed and a window in the process. I’ve scolded them to be careful. I spent four hours building that damn thing.

I overhear Thalia say, “The mom’s birthday was the worst birthday ever because of the earthquake.”

I hear Sage say, “Happy birthday! Let’s all have a party!”

I hear Thalia say, “let’s pretend the brother is really scared because they might all die, so they can hide in this special earthquake room.”

I hear Sage say, “You can’t hide the brother in the teapot because then we will drink them. Hey…this can be a birthday cake!”

I hear Thalia say, “Now I will play music on the piano that sounds like a thunderstorm.”

I hear Sage say, “I am making you some tea. It’s the kids’ kind of tea. Let’s get a gift!”

And then they gift wrap a bathing suit top in an orange cloth napkin, and hand it to Daddy to open it up.

I remember recently reading this amazing post about Twitter and disaster burnout. I wish I could find it. It described something I had written about too–how strange it is that our streams are so schizophrenic, alternating wildly between heartfelt wishes for Japan, quips about our kids, and jokes about pop culture icons. Up down up down.

Maybe that’s totally normal. Maybe that’s what we’re supposed to be doing to keep ourselves sane. Because I see my girls doing it in their own way right this minute.


5 thoughts on “From earthquakes to goody bags”

  1. I know what you mean. On my site, I avoid mentioning what's going on in the world, as if I don't know. Of course I know. But I found it difficult enough to write a post about the oil spill in the Gulf–despite my feeling of obligation to do so, since it was in my own backyard. The situation in Japan is terrifying, and the suffering of those people incomprehensible. The rebels in Libya, what they've had to go through to get free of a tyrant. One of my nephews is in Iraq, for his third tour (because they're “recycling” soldiers”). The bottom line is that the world is in such a mess, that I'm terrified. And there's so much going on, I don't who to pray for, anymore–there's just so much suffering, so much horror, that it's overwhelming to me.

    I think it's overwhelming to all of us. So we post about things that offer an escape from it all. And as for us here, on the Gulf Coast, Hurricane Season starts in less than two months.

    My point is that we all have our personal problems–which can be overwhelming enough. And we just can't do anything about the world's problems, even those closest to us. And it's frustrating, to say the least. I wish I could be Superman, and fix all these problems in the world–I think most of us do. We get angry, even–how come the Creator (“God”) isn't doing anything about this stuff?

    But there's a short story by Leo Tolstoy I haven't yet read–the title says it all, really: “God Sees the Truth, but Waits”. And since God waits, so must we.

  2. Thanks for a thoughtful comment Scott. Those of us who don't have a “god” to credit or blame for the world's ills are turning to other explanations, which are still difficult. All I feel I can do right now is love my kids, protect them the best I can, and answer their questions honestly.

    I also take comfort in the fact that we parents are all in this together.

  3. My girls always seem to create scenarios that have peril laced with magic. I can't imagine a world without a little of each. I also genuinely hope that our conversations, playful and otherwise, always have a thematically peripatetic course…so long as we allow a little of the magic in the mix.

  4. Today my kids were bickering so screamily that a black cloud gathered over my head. 20 minutes later I was still feeling stormy about their fighting while they had seamlessly transitioned to being best, grudge-free, friends again.

    Kids are good at letting the whole world in, the beauty and the brutality.

  5. I don't think that the world is any crazier right now than it ever has been. The main difference is the proliferation of information has a significant impact.

    I read a report last year that crime rates are down overall and that is safer now than it has been in 40 years or so.

    But we don't feel that way so we don't let our kids play out front by themselves or walk to school.

    When I look at my life I have lived through multiple earthquakes, fires, mudslides, the LA Riots and all sorts of other odds and ends.

    I remember when the Hostage crisis with Iran and all the talk that Reagan would come in and bomb everyone.

    Didn't happen.

    Ask people who are a bit older about the Cuban missile crisis and bomb shelters.

    There really are endless examples that can be used. The point is not that there aren't problems because there are plenty, but there is reason to believe that we will survive just as we always have.

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