For a while now, I've been thinking about why I haven't been writing. And a while is about as benign a term as I can conjure, because a while is of such indeterminate length. A while can be half an hour while you're waiting for someone to pick you up at the airport, but it's also been a while since the last Olympics.
My writing drought has skewed toward the latter. On Monday, however, I had a bit of a breakthrough.
I was over at Moxie's, picking up TwoBert for his Cub Scout meeting, when she and I began discussing the Boston bombings. Since we hadn't talked about them with the boys yet, we were speaking as obliquely as possible, especially about contact we'd had with people in the Boston area. ("Everyone's fine." "I hear one was only 8." "No word yet about Why or How.")
And then the 11yo said, "Are you guys talking about the bombings in Boston today?"
Because of course the story was discussed in school, and he'd had the chance to digest this latest abomination before he'd had any interaction with us.
That seems like the crux of my problem right now, something bigger than how my sons are already desensitizing themselves from the string of deranged, craven assholes determined to kill innocents. When such high-profile violence occurs, a parent's instinct is to figure out how to Discuss It With The Kids. But in this case, someone else had discussed it with them first.
Our ability to control how our kids experience the world is slipping away.
Yes, that's an exceedingly maudlin thing to write. It's also completely inaccurate, since so many of us persevere by deluding ourselves into thinking we have more control than we do. I liked to think my divorce and all those job layoffs inured me to life's transience, but the one constant has been that my kids need me to shelter them from this world that is more full of weeping than they can understand. They still do, but not as much. And as this trend continues, it won't be long until my sons are adolescents and I become a complete idiot.
Parenting is becoming more complicated. My learning curve is steepening. And it's odd to think I'm losing control of the last thing I ever thought I could control, even though I know intellectually that I was never in control in the first place.
I think I need to go to the gym and overthink this some more.