The typical blog post for today is all about Halloween: how to decorate with pumpkins and orange, which organic candy is best, or how to make your child’s costume in three easy steps. If you’re on the East Coast, it’s about Hurricane Sandy. Or, it’s even a lament about the sale of Star Wars to Disney. And, I could write about these topics, especially Sandy; I can show you photos of the trees that fell down in my yard, narrowly missing our house.
But, I really can’t. I’ve been so bothered this week with another story, one of devastation and deep sadness.
Last week, we learned the horrible news about a nanny in New York City who killed her young charges, a 6-year-old girl and her 2-year-old brother, before unsuccessfully attempting suicide. (You can read more about the story here and here.)
Their mother found them.
I cannot get this story out of my mind. It reduced me to tears when I read about last week, and I’ve been carrying it around, just under the surface, ever since. I don’t know anyone involved. But, I do know what it’s like to be a mother and to love your small people fiercely. And to have them taken from you? So violently? By someone you welcomed into your home? It’s my fear incarnate.
But, that’s the thing about parenting: there are endless things to worry about. Forget those scary movies about ghosts or giant river snakes. Children bring a whole other level of things to be vigilant about. Our protective instincts kick in and we are hardwired to ensure they are safe and healthy. Because, if not, something could happen to them. Something bad. Things that before children you never even knew about now wake you up in the middle of the night, terrified. Lifetime movies about stolen children used to be bad rainy Saturday afternoon TV; now, they could be real. And, this family’s story is like that: a fictional worry that became reality.
I keep imagining that mother. How is she coping? How does she explain this to her other child, the one who was not home at the time of the murders and therefore survived? How will she go on?
I imagine she shared my goals about placing the safety and well-being of our babies above all else. I imagine all mothers feel this way. And, so, together, we all share the pain of a loss as senseless and devastating as this one.