America

Spiders Eat Mosquitos

spider-595301_1280Last night Mini-One Mean woke up in the middle of the night. Mini is usually a great sleeper, rarely waking in the middle of the night. Even as an infant, I was blessed with a baby that slept like a baby. I am probably one of the only women who in the first few months of motherhood was “well-rested.” Okay, enough bragging.

Last night was different. Mini was shouting from the crib, “Get you! Get you!” and of course, like the paranoid woman I am, I thought someone was in his room trying to kidnap him. Is it me or is the fear of kidnapping something that you always think about as a mother? I literally worry all. the. time. that my kiddo is going to snatched up by a stranger never to be seen from again, and you’ll all see me on the news trying to fumble through sentences of “Bring back my baby!” It’s probably super melodramatic of me, but the fear is real.

Mini was also screaming, “Scary!”Convinced a kidnapper was in our home (and of course the husband is traveling for his work, so I was alone in the house–this clearly only amplified the fear), I jumped out of bed. I didn’t even bother with my glasses, which in retrospect was fucking stupid because what if I was going to be asked to describe the perpetrator? I am blind. Like severely blind. My contact lens prescription is a -9.0. I take my glasses off and colors merge into one another. It’s madness.

I went into Mini-One Mean’s room. I held my kiddo in my arms and could feel Mini shaking. Mini is generally pretty fearless so the shaking made me nervous. I grabbed Mini’s favorite stuffed animal and blankets and marched back to my bedroom. The bed had extra space given Mr. One Mean was traveling. I generally do not believe in co-sleeping. I am not going to get into it here. This isn’t a Mommy Blog. I think it if works for your family that’s great. It’s not for me or my husband. As a result of our no co-sleeping policy, Mini-One Mean does not get into our bed at night. Last night was an exception.

The shaking got to me, and I caved. I let Mini calm down and then the child was returned to the crib. As we lay together, Mini-One Mean–who has recently begun to call me Momma, which I don’t love (I’m a fan of Mommy as a name), chatted me up. At one point, “Give Mini a kiss” was uttered and my mother heart melted. I had to be firm and so I reminded Mini it was time for sleeping.

Turns out the child thought there were spiders in the crib. Once I had convinced Mini-One Mean there were no spiders, all was good.

An hour passed between the initial crying and my return to an empty bed. Of course, I was unable to sleep so I picked up my cell phone and began to peruse social media. It was then that I saw the shooting in Dallas was occurring. Mini had woken me up as the trauma was starting, startled by something scary.

Earlier that day, I had seen something on Facebook or heard something on the radio–I can’t recall where I heard it–about being afraid to go to sleep for fear that he or she would wake up to more violence–and there it was on my little screen. More violence.

I’m not going to use this space to get political. Though is this really political? It shouldn’t be. Still, the violence of this week has been politicized, which is maddening. So many lives are being lost senselessly, and my social media feeds are filled with ignorance and rage.

When I had my daily text chat with the husband, I confessed my inability to focus on job applications and writing.

“I cannot concentrate today.”

“Why?”

“Slept like shit.” I told him about our kid not sleeping and continued, “Then the news…” I couldn’t really type. I explained my being upset over the violence and didn’t get a response. I’m sure the Husband wasn’t sure how to respond.

It reminded me of when the Paris shootings happened in November. I sat in front of the TV staring at the news. I did the same today. I just sat there (both times) crying. When I got in the car to pick up Mini-One Mean from daycare today, I cried the entire drive to the school–it’s a 30 minute drive. I had to gather myself before going into the building.

While I’m not part of either community whose been under attack this week, the violence is too much. Two weeks before there was the massacre in Orlando, and that was too much too. For the past month, it seems me (and the rest of the country) keeps waking up to horrifying news of violence. Human on Human killings.

Enough.

As nighttime approaches, I now echo the same fear that I heard the night before. I don’t want to go to sleep only to wake up to more violence. What’s even more wild is that I feel guilty for being upset. I think about how lucky I am that generally I’m safe pretty much every where I go–except maybe work because let’s face it, school shootings are a reality in this country. I can go to church or the grocery store or the mall and for the most part, I am not concerned about my safety. It’s a non-issue. Meanwhile, around the world people are trying to escape war. In my own country, there are groups of people who do fear for their lives. This is not okay. It has to stop.

I almost kept Mini-One Mean home today. I debated spending the day playing and hearing Mini’s little voice around the house while I folded clothes. It felt selfish to keep the kid home given the today the school had water play, which is like every kid’s favorite thing ever. I was grateful for the hour we spent snuggled together as I soothed Mini, assuring there were no spiders in the crib. “Spiders are good. They eat mosquitos,” my child whispered back to me.

 

9/11 Through Teenage Eyes

Last night I had one of those dreams where you wake up exhausted. I dreamt that I was with my family and FH, and we were in New York City visiting. Our hotel was on 42nd Street and close to Broadway, maybe like a block or two away. Our hotel was over taken by Muammar Gaddafi. He wasn’t really Gaddafi, he was like a hybrid Gaddafi-Bin Laden (don’t ask, my brain is so messed up). My parents wouldn’t let FH and I be alone together so we tried to escape, and we managed to escape the hotel just before Gaddafi-BinLaden Hybrid took over and locked down the hotel. We were running away being chased and shot at by terrorists. I don’t know how we got to my apartment (which isn’t in NYC) but we did. We decided to hide in my walk-in closet. We wrapped ourselves in clothes. My walk-in closet turned into an enormous room (not that I’d be opposed to this happening in real-life). The Gaddafi-Bin Laden Hybrid was chasing after two girls he wanted as wives, and one of them was this young blonde girl. She came into my closet and started taking clothes off of the rack and our cover was almost blown. I woke up thinking about terrorists, guns, and 9/11.

I can’t believe ten years has passed since 9/11 happened. When I look at my students, I can’t imagine what they remember about it, because they were only five, six, or seven years old. I was a senior in high school. I was sitting in my AP English class. We had just finished watching something lame like Camelot. I don’t know why we were watching that crap, because I don’t remember reading it. When we finished watching it, for whatever reason our class decided to discuss who would take over for the President if he was killed or died and so on. We were laughing at how it was strange that the Secretary of Agriculture would take over if God-forbid the Presidential Line of Succession was to be needed. A student walked into our classroom and told the teacher what was happening. Because we were in a portable she couldn’t turn the news on, so we had to wait until our next class to see what was happening.

Looking back I realize how I didn’t understand what was happening. I couldn’t wrap my brain around it. When I look at footage from 9/11, it blows my mind at how clueless I was. I had a teacher who had children who worked in the World Trade Center, and this same teacher had another child who was flying to New York that day. I remember seeing her running around school freaking out. Teachers aren’t supposed to freak out. I remember driving around with my best friend and flipping through radio channels and hearing Osama Bin Laden’s name for the first time.

9/11 is similar to Kennedy’s assassination in the way that you don’t forget where you were when it happened. You remember strange details about that day. I can tell you what seat in my English class I was sitting in, and where my friends were sitting too.

Two weeks after 9/11 my drama class took its annual field trip to NYC to see Broadway shows. A few parents didn’t want their children to go, but my mother (smartly) thought it was important that my sister and I go. Only a few kids dropped out of that trip–I think 2 or 3. My mother said if it was our time to go, it was our time to go.

I stood at Ground Zero while it was still smoking and it wasn’t until then that my seventeen year old brain began to process it all. I remember native New Yorkers yelling at us. Telling us it wasn’t a tourist site. To go away. To leave New York alone. I remember one of my teachers explaining to the New Yorker that it was important that we see the devastation so we could understand the evil and what happened.

While I still can’t understand the evil, I won’t forget the smoke and the ash that was still there after two weeks and beyond. The pain. The devastation.

Today, I couldn’t stop thinking about what that day was like for me (selfish), and trying to empathize as best I could with those children whose mother’s were pregnant with them as their father’s died, or those who survived and don’t know why. One of the most difficult things to face about 9/11 is the helplessness that the country experienced watching as the attack unfolded live before our eyes. So instead of feeling helpless, I’ve prayed that the victims, the family of the victims, and America one day find peace.