Nathan surprised me with a date when he was given free tickets to the community center to see “Ragtime.”
I often thought of Mary during the show, and how lovely and intelligent she is.
We talked about how we will have to someday – even now – teach Mary these things, and it grieves me because she is so pure and innocent.
We loved the musical in many ways, but it is also intrinsically riddled with the problems it confronts: the black people die, the white people get away with killing, and success is measured by (Jewish) money.
I don’t want to have to tell her these things, or teach her the awful history of the past, or awaken her eyes to even current political dramas playing out in the news. One night we were using a gift card at Hideaway, like a miracle of manna for our family, and the kids spent most of the time crying because they watched a student dragged out of a classroom by a police officer. This isn’t Little Rock when my mother was in school; this is childhood of my children, and there is still so much horror in the world, so much terror. I want her to grow up feeling safe and secure and healthy and happy and well, but she also needs an accurate picture to understand where she has come from, where we are still coming from, to know where she is going and who she wants to be.
We cannot be wise without knowing the stupidity of the past, or compassionate without knowing the cruelty of the present.
I want a better world for her, and I know she will help create it.
But there will be painful pieces to hand to her, ever so gently, in time, much like the pieces we must hand to all of them as they grow and ask questions about their families and their past.
I must give them to her, though, because they are her pieces.
I know, though, and have to believe, that there is hope in the atonement, and that healing can be real and lasting and of far greater wholeness than we can imagine on our own.
As a mother, as a mother, I see some of the hard road ahead, and my heart grieves for the pain and struggle she must endure, even while my spirit understands its meaning and purpose and necessity.