Friday, January 25, 2008

Shifting Perspectives

I had always heard people say "just wait til you have kids." They would say it to almost everything. As if everything in your life shifts simply because you give birth. Well - it kinda does. Don't get me wrong, I am not now - nor will I ever be - a flannel wearing, curler-in-hair, walmart-world-of-fashion mom. I just can't. Its the one part of the "old me" that I cling to. But I have noticed much of my mindset has shifted since I've had Cora.

For instance, there is a downtown daycare in the building right next to mine and the playground (part of the parking lot that has now been fenced off and filled with a few kiddie toys) is visible from our skywalk system. I've never paid much attention to it before. But as I was walking back from lunch one day this week, I stopped to watch the children play. I was suddenly struck by how sad it was that all these children had for a playground was a patch of parking lot surrounded by iron. In addition, there were snow/ice piles in each corner of the fence, built up there from our typical winter weather. I watched as the kids played "king of the hill" on the icy mounds. Instead of chuckling to myself about how cute they were and moving on (as I would have done 9 months ago) I stood in horror just sure that one of the children was going to slip and bust a lip, or worse yet, bash a skull against either ground or wrought iron. I actually found myself contemplating calling the director of the daycare and letting him/her know I thought the supervision on the playground was shoddy. I never did - didn't have the nerve - but it actually still bothers me a bit.

The worst thing however is reading the news. Before Cora, when I would read a story about a parent harming a child, a pedophile abducting a little one, or - worst of all - the death of a child, I would always feel sad and that it was a shame, but unless truly sensational (ala Susan Smith) I would forget about it in the matter of a few hours. Now, I often cannot control my tears as I read these news stories - and yet I cannot make myself forgo reading them. Tragically there seems to be endless material on which to report. A father, angry at his wife, throws his 4 children (all under 5 years old) off a bridge into a river. A mother who thinks her children have been possessed by demons kills all four and then lives with their corpses in her small apartment for weeks not missed by anybody. A pre-teen brother, tired of his toddler sibling's crying, beats him to death with a baseball bat and then goes back to playing his video game. A small nameless blonde girl is found in a blue cooler in Texas and for weeks no one claims her. Once they do its then that we discover the horror of her last hours at the hands of her mother and step-father. But the one that stung my heart the most was the small two-year-old little face looking into the camera with swollen eyes that had obviously done their share of crying, and is clearly wondering why all of these horrid things are happening to her by the hands of a strange man who is making her wear a leopard print tank top and do things of which she cannot possibly understand the evil. The police had no choice but to release a still frame of the video shot of this poor little baby in order to identify her and catch the pedophile who subjected her to it all. Catch him they did and I cannot wait until trial comes for this man. I'm quite aware of what they do to people like him in prison and I couldn't be more delighted for that day to come. My only sincere hope is that at some point the prison surveillance cameras catch him bruised, bleeding, eyes red from crying - wondering why he can't just go home. At that point I will feel there is true justice in this world.

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