All the Somethings Lead to Nothing

The kids are home, sort of. I mean school is over for the year and one child is home from college, the other, who isn’t due to leave for another year is busily taking college classes and enjoying the challenge. Somehow the 2017-2018 school year turned into a holding pattern for me. I wasn’t sure how to move forward, and if I’m honest with myself I doubt I’ll know much more next year.

With kids home and an abundance of free time I exercise in the mornings, write midday, publish nothing, and pull the house apart only to partially reassemble it. I spend a good bit of time with my chin resting on my hand and smiling as I listen to my kids talk to one another and to their friends. The occasional exclamation is all I offer. If I remind them I am here they might censor themselves. I want information. I want to soak up their worlds and feel like I’m still part of it.

I am not.

In an attempt to pass time I read the news, and then I cannot. I can’t read about immigrant kids anymore, at all really. I’m not the kind of person who avoids bad news. Typically I love to have information. Right now I cannot.

Maybe it’s because these children who are separated from family before their milk teeth have even come in have a bleak future. On paper it will be fine and the talking heads will talk about how various therapies will help, but ask anyone who has a refugee family for an honest assessment of who these children will become. They’ll be narcissists or victims. Possibly both. Expect failed marriages, seething anger, a complete inability to share compassion. People will try to love them and give up, lost in a swirl of exasperation and self-defense. Toddlers with well-honed survival instincts become adults with laser focus. One can only hope for glimpses of altruism.

So perhaps that is part of why the kids are just too much for me. Because I look at them and I see hope drifting away and humankind is programmed to look at children and see hope. I don’t want to be stripped of my humanity, even in small ways.

Mostly though, I’m back to transcriptions. It has value. A life worth documenting.

holocaust oral history ghetto 1938

I’d rather listen to my kids. Chin in hand, teacup resting next to me. I’d like to pretend that America is okay. It’s another thing I can’t do. Not today. Perhaps soon.

So I exercise. A lot. For a few hours each day, I’m not rheumatic, I’m nowhere near a telephone or a news source. And when it’s good I’m not even talking to another person about anything that matters.

 

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