What will become of the sheep if the wolf is the judge? Vos vet vern fun di sheps aoyb di volf iz di rikhter?
My kinder (children), they truly feel the anxiety in our home. They soak it in as they happily leap from the yellow school bus and cross the entryway into our home. They see it when I return from work each night. I am literally wearing the news on my punim (face) – and it is not a good look.
Big and Little, they know about deadly gun violence because they see me put on my orange cloak of activism and fight for gun sense laws (no guns makes the most sense to me) with Moms Demand Action. They hear my spiel (talk, like “please, don’t hang up… on… me!) pleading with complete strangers about conceal carry reciprocity and bump stocks, week after week.
But now, tragedy, it strikes daily. How can their naive and tender, trusting souls take in all of the madness when I have trouble simply not crying at the office or pumping the car with gas? Smart people who study such things, scholars, they say we need to tell our kinder in real-time, as the bad things occur. They say that when they hear hard/tragic news from us, the people they love and trust most, they can best take in the inconceivable and somehow still feel safe.
Feeling safe. Aside from my day job, isn’t that what I am here to do? How can I promise protection for my maideleh’s (sweet girls) in a world that can kill you while learning, praying, playing, watching a movie, doing yoga? I have read that we only tell them what is absolutely true. Live in the moment. “You, my sweet bubbelah’s (babies), are safe here, now.” No promises that you cannot absolutely keep. Truth.
Who owes her the hole in the bagel? Ver ouz ir di lokh in di bagel?
My father, he used to explain things to me and then say, “Capiche? (Understand?) I did (well mostly), but he wasn’t hurling around huge concepts like anti-Semitism, racism, nationalism, white-supremacy. At eight and ten, hatred, violence, and grief are ‘tough to swallow’ dinner table topics. Allow them time to think, ask questions. As many questions as they need to ask. Always answer with honesty and reassure them of the many people around them, in addition to us, who are also safe havens for them.
This past weekend, we even developed a ‘code word’ for our family after reading the news story about a little girl in Arizona who thwarted her would be captor in a potential kidnapping with, “What’s the code word? If you are picking me up, what’s the code word?” Be prepared.
And this, all of this is what I call ashondah (a shame, pity).
Tomorrow, Thanksgiving, people all over America will be getting together to celebrate, sup, break bread and nosh together. Many families have been as divided as those gonefs (thieves, dishonest people)on the hill in DC. Many topics are now more taboo than ever before. Politics and sports are out. Perhaps sex is a safe, go-to conversation? Wishing you all, a safe, loving and enjoyable time. And, may we all find a way to unite. Capiche?
Help me; I feel a bit discouraged today. I’m not my usual sunny self.
My kinder, Little and Big, are growing up in a culture that is so riddled in hate. And it is growing overwhelmingly, and at warp speeds.
Me, I’m out looking for the fairies tossing pixie dust, playing harps (really cool ones), planting trees and lighting the path to eternal sunshine, love, peace and happiness? Others, they put on vests voluntarily and enter crowded airports and tourist hot spots, or purchase firearms and forever change what safety means.
Such brokkh (disaster and misfortune) I refuse to get used to!
Hate, the worst of the four letter words, is learned and it spreads like a contagion.
I have a friend whose family came here to visit, leaving from the very same Turkish Airport that the terrorists blew up, less than 24 hours later. Someone was shot in our parking lot just a few weeks back, and just minutes before, he killed another human being.
I’m sorry, but moments of silence and prayer are bullshit not cutting it for me. I do not mean to offend those who believe, but there cannot be a God whose plan is that we strategically pick each other off the planet to see who wins; most often, one by one — and too often, en masse. Poo, poo, may they all rest in peace…
Why the hell can’t we find a way to all live in peace? Is that so farshlugineh (crazy, irrational, mixed up)?
Did we just throw away our moral compass?
How did the bar get so low?
This post is filled with questions that I do not have the answers to. What I do know is that:
I’m all for gun control, background checks and mental health checks
I don’t think my neighbor, or yours for that matter, should have the right to bear arms. I have shpilkes (panic) when I consider that he or she may – what if my shana madelahs (sweet little darling girls) are there for a play date?
Color me crazy, but mental health is and should be valued as highly as physical health, whether you want a gun or not
I think we all should feel safe going to school, the movies, a dance club, the airport, at work and anywhere else the fuck we want to go
I think everyone should be able to pee without showing a birth certificate
I want to love out loud, fearlessly
Do we have the chutzpah (balls, yes balls) to make change out of this unconscionable tsuris (troubled, mayhem) of a world?
Won’t you help me? Please? My kishkas (intestines) are in knots at the thought of us not joining together with empathy in our hearts. Don’t we all deserve so much better than this? For the kinder (children), we make it better?
Alevai (It should only happen)!
Das hartz hat mir gezoght (My heart told me) it would.
Who needs cable? We have our own excitement around here. Vey iz mere (heaven forbid) some normalcy we should have. Our evening started off so tranquilly. As a family, we noshed (ate dinner) on a nice meal. We streamed a delightful documentary, ‘First Position,’ about young ballet dancers, hard work, determination and the joy of the dance. It was magnificent. Little and Big were kind to each other, wore their listening ears well, and we were all assembled in a family-style, sofa-sized snuggle. Bouts of ballet broke out before us as Little and Big sensed the genius they were watching and tested their own moxie as dancers took to the stage. We watched through the credits, kinder leaping and twirling.
It was Friday night, my turn to cuddle my kinder (kids) to schluffy (sleep). We kissed the Mrs. and Gatsby, our pooch, good night, and pranced into the bedroom for dreamland. I had a shana madelah (little innocent daughter) curled in each arm. What could be bad? Nu?Big, she fell first, as witnessed by the cutest little purr of a snore. My Little, always the challenge, dared dreamland and the imaginings ahead in the dark. Yet even she soon surrendered sweetly. I felt her soft breath on my cheek. The toil of the ‘short-long week’ took its toll, and I soon drifted off too, smile on my punim (face).
Mittendrinnen (in the middle of everything), the Mrs., she comes running in, out of breath, shaking my feet, trembling, and saying, “Someone’s been shot in the parking lot!” Not two minutes before, she was outside with Gatsby for the last walk of the night. I pray, no I don’t hope I’m dreaming? No such luck. I pinched myself; it hurt. Kaynahorah (without the evil eye), I looked around and my family was okay.
I stumbled out of the bedroom to the frightening scene that played out downstairs, just below our kitchen window. Police cars, marked and unmarked, flew in, lights blazing as it neared midnight. A man stumbled and fell out of a white car, blood pooling around him as he lay in agony on the macadam. Neighbors were trying to stop the blood that poured from his groin. Everyone called 911. I even called NBC 10 news-as if they would cover such a story.
“We’ll be right over, said the women at the news desk.” Have you seen them?
Where in the hell was the ambulance. At least six cop cars had arrived. Two cops dragged the poor screaming man by his legs, across the pavement, to their car. A trail of blood followed him. His girlfriend cried out in terror; he shouted, clearly suffering. The cops, they insisted they were helping him to get to the hospital. I can still hear his screams. My heart still thumps uncomfortably in my chest. Was this brutality? The Mrs. and I, we couldn’t help but wonder if a white man on a better street in a better section of Philly would have been schlepped (pulled) like that. #BlackLivesMatter
So began the investigation. No sign of a gun. No sign of a struggle. No shattered windows. No bullet holes from outside of the vehicle. A bloodied drivers seat and blood along the parking lot. What’ happened? The police turned to the girlfriend, arms bloodied as she tried to help her boyfriend, to stop the flow of his blood into the street.
“Where is the gun? Where are the cell phones? Do you have his SIM cards? Did you give them to your daughter to take inside?”
“I didn’t know he had a gun! He has lots of cell phones. I didn’t know he had a gun!”
We were two white moms witnessing the horrors of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. The fear and the tension for everyone outside, painfully clear. The detectives started to pressure, to criminalize the girlfriend, who lives two flights below. The police wanted to take her in, didn’t trust her innocence in the events. The Mrs., she ran down 3 flights of steps to tell the detectives, “She’s telling you the truth! I was there, with my dog. Everything she said is what happened.”
The cops took the young, bloodied woman to the station. Her mother said to her, “Go along. We don’t want any trouble here.” The woman walked confidently to the car. The grandmother stayed home with the 9-year-old granddaughter, a witness to too much too soon, and perhaps too often.
The remaining cops and detectives placed yellow police tape around the area in question. The pool of blood shimmered in the night. The evidence bags came out, the flashlights. The Mrs. and me sat on the sofa, holding each other, crying. We were so grateful our girls slept through it all. We talked about what happened. Were we safe living here? What about the kinder (children)? Moving forward, we will refer to this horrible event as ‘pasta salad’ because Little and Big are too damned smart for their own good, figuring out everything we talk about in front of them. Listening only when we don’t want them to.
The next day, the Mrs., she ran in to the family, three generations of black women. They hugged her. They told her they loved her and that she really saved them that night. The daughter was released from the police safely, without incident. They said they let her go because the Mrs., she vouched for her.
We can only surmise how the gunshot transpired. Said boyfriend called moments before arriving to tell his girlfriend he was picking her up. Somewhere in the two minutes between, “I’m coming to get you” and pulling into the lot, he was shot. With no visible distress to the vehicle, he quite possibly, accidentally shot himself in the groin as he removed the gun from his pants before he picked up his girlfriend. He very likely shot his own nuts private parts off and ditched the gun along the way.
A few things I do know:
Black people are and have been deprived of basic human rights and dignity in our country and it’s got to stop
I despise guns
My kids do not know about this event at the Manor, so please refer to this as ‘pasta salad’ if you discuss it in front of your kids, their friends
My kinder, they know #BlackLivesMatter
This has got to stop.
A bei gezunt (we should all live and be well) together.