How did we get here?

We took our five year old grandson to Disney last week.  It’s a tradition with us, once a grandchild turns 5 we take them on a trip — he is the third one, and the second to pick Disney as his destination.

I’m not a Disney girl.  It often feels staged and pushy, the crowds get me confused and I don’t have the patience to wait for 20 minutes ( with fast pass ) for a four minute “attraction” which may be little more than a loud neon painted carnival ride.

But, it seems to be an American Right of Passage and the grandkids love it, so I suck it up and ultimately get pulled into the pageantry and hoopla.  The one on one time with a grandchild is a treat indeed — so I push my cynicism aside and experience the Magic that is DisneyWorld.

Last Thursday evening I sat on the curb, grandson between my knees, surrounded by glow sticks and 5 year olds and watched a High School band march around the circle  in Magic Kingdom.  And, as I experienced and shared the things a child’s life should be made of — friends and music, adventure and accomplishment, Light Sabers and giggles — I tried to wrap my head around the chaos of the news that had come to me from my home town, hours earlier in the day.

You may have heard of, but probably not, Wilmington Delaware.  I grew up here, an iconic place to live, diverse, blue collar, close to the beach, Philadelphia and New York.  My friends and I thought nothing of unlocked doors and late night walks and going to dances to listen to the band.

Lately though, things have changed.  Plagued by violence, unemployment, heroin gone wild, the city has become dark, dirty,  sadness and despair permeate the air.  The news paper and television call it “Killmington” and “Murderville”, guns are everywhere, parents scared to let their kids go to the park, or onto their own front stoops.

And, on Thursday a 16 year old girl was beaten to death, TO DEATH, in the bathroom of her school.  Good God, her school. There are rumors flying about the reason, as if there could be one, or the manner in which the death occurred, but whether her head was slammed into a sink or she was stabbed, whether there were 2 assailants or 6, whether she went into that bathroom to fight a peer or discuss a problem, one thing is certain, she is dead.  All the blue balloons sent to the sky as children yell “RIP AMY”, all the vigils and television interviews won’t bring her back.  There is nothing poetic or symbolic about this.  It is sick.  It is unacceptable that a young person could walk into her school at 7:45 and never walk out.  killed at the hands of her peers, beaten to death.

I didn’t know Amy, I don’t understand the anger that could make you kill someone, and I don’t know how to solve this rage that fills so many of our young people.  Church?  Parenting?  Mentoring?  Hope?  I don’t know, I am so saddened that I just don’t know.

And, as  I sat and wondered, my grandson lifted his head and said, I love you grammy. My joy was muddled with the thoughts of a mother that will never hear her daughter say those words again.

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2 thoughts on “How did we get here?

  1. IDK. Maybe there’s hope through science? By that I mean that perhaps there is something in the brains of some people that drives them to commit acts of violence against others. I am thinking not only of this incident but also of the interview given and book written by Sue Klebold, mother of Dylan Klebold, one of the Columbine shooters. I am also thinking about two recent incidents that left two young male members of the same family senselessly and needlessly dead through gun violence. They both lived near where I currently reside in Knoxville, TN.

    Since I became a Mom, and as I’ve watched my kids and their generation grow and mature, as many of them have, one of my biggest concerns was the state of the world that we we were leaving behind for them. I feared that we had left our planet so polluted and depleted and hateful and that these problems would be too much for them to overcome. Now that I’ve retired I’m trying to give more of my now free time and unencumbered effort to making whatever small improvements I can in the world before I leave it.

    As for the next generations, again IDK what, if anything, will move them to look at the world as a whole and inspire them to come together to try to fix it before it is too late for them and their children. I know my message is not very hopeful but I think at least you and I can exert positive influences on the children in our own families. Maybe one of them will find the answer(s).

    1. thank you for your comment. I too am having trouble being helpful outside of my own little circle. And, I know full well that my circle isnt in a bubble — they are affected by this chaos. Take care, be safe and continue making differences!

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