Friday, November 20, 2015

In Here, Out There

Part of being a parent—besides vacuuming up Goldfish cracker crumbs—is creating a safe place for a child. 

No. Matter. What.

Not quite three, my son is blissfully unaware of the news. And by news I mean all the crummy things happening in the world. He knows our house. His books. Toys. A couple of cartoons. Entirely too much about lawn mowing. And now he's discovered chocolate, so, life is good.

But when I turn on the television, ready to flip on Curious George but then pause because something in the news has caught my attention--maybe a headline about another mass shooting, or a bombing or a protest, could be a manhunt or kidnapping, wreck, hostage, drowning, fire, flood or famine--he’ll call to me, with wondering eyes that beg to know what I’m doing. Then I remember. The cartoon.

Recently I came across a speech from years ago. Reagan, addressing the country before we bombed Libya. It was posted it on Facebook for some political reason or another, but I found myself remembering that speech. More specifically, remembering the exact moment.

I was a kid, in our basement of our little house.The good old 1980's, back when the world was great. At least for me. My parents had bills and worries and the world had crime and injustice. But for me, everything was GI Joe and Knight Rider. The Cosby Show, Family Ties and the like. Our house was my refuge from school, the know, Out There.

But in our basement that night--with Reagan, going on about those strikes on Libya to oust Gadhafi from power and how the middle east was in turmoil--a big old chunk of Out There cut right into my regularly scheduled programming. And it was a little bit scary.

Who knew the world was such a mess? Not me. Not then. I was surrounded by love and music. Allowed to be a kid, to do goofy kid things and build forts or complain about a tear in my parachute pants. How I needed a new pair of sneakers.

But that Reagan moment sticks out because of that brief glimpse of out there all over my parents' faces. Silent and glued to the television, just for a second, just like me when I hear about things going on out there now. 
I was safe because my parents made sure of it.

In Here.

Now it’s my turn. Even though things move quicker now—at least the news does. But it's my job to create In Here, and let Out There come later. He'll get plenty of it later...

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