Today has been one of those days. It started at 5:00 this morning when Jamie invited a strange cat in through the cat door and they woke me up with their partying. Later in the morning I broke one of my favorite bowls, part of a set that isn’t made anymore. I burned a finger and a whole batch of croutons. And much of the evening has been spent helping a teary child, overtired and overwhelmed with homework. I’ve accomplished very little of what I set out to do when I got out of bed this morning (the second time, when the alarm went off).
But if—in these days of economic crisis, conflict, and crimes against strangers that were once unimaginable—these are the traumas of my day, then I’m living a pretty blessed life.
The other night I saw something on the news that moved me to tears. Yes, yes, I know I’ve been known to cry at the dump and during sappy scenes in sitcoms, but this really was moving. During a story about Gaza, a reporter stood in front of a large pile of rubble, the remains of a building. And on top of that pile stood a group of school-aged girls playing a clapping game, just like my daughter and her friends do. I could imagine them chanting the Arabic equivalent of “Miss Mary Mack.”
Ever since I’ve had kids, whenever there is some kind of crisis in the world—a war, a natural disaster, a famine—I think of the mothers who are trying to raise their children in those conditions, and of the children whose childhoods are so drastically affected. Seeing those girls making the best of their situation, I felt both sadness and hope.