In the past week, I have taken my children to a few scheduled appointments. At the dentist, which was Little Man's inaugural visit, the waiting room was more like a clubhouse, the kind where you can watch movies or play video games or curl up inside the hollow of a tree and catch up with Dr. Seuss. The hygienist offered the kids an array of flouride flavors: chocolate chip cookie dough or vanilla, whatever your pleasure. If you leaned back in the dentist's chair, you could watch "Finding Nemo."
At the pediatrician's office, there were honest to goodness modern big wheels that well children could ride around in the lobby.
At the hair salon, they had choices: they could sit in an airplane, police car, or fire truck while having their locks shorn, watching "Cinderella" and sucking on a Dum-Dum pop.
In this land of plenty, we accommodate our children. Some would say we spoil them. I agree. But we are also fighting the burglars of childhood with a resolve that is mighty and a strength that is tested. Daily. Hourly.
People talk about the importance of preserving childish innocence. I have not yet found a way to bottle the way my daughter begs to play pound puppies, or the way my son's dimples cave when he talks about our home being "warm and cozy." I have not yet discovered the secret for sealing these moments tightly into that bottle in a sterile environment, and setting them on a shelf free to be removed like jam when my toast is ready for it.
We are fighting an impossible battle to preserve sweet girlhood and boyhood. We cannot eliminate the scrapes of the dentist or the fear of the doctor's shots. But we can distract our children for a little while from the thorns. Or maybe, we can distract ourselves.
Children in a hamlet in Connecticut cannot unsee what they have seen. Cannot re-hug their twin brother. Cannot be the children they were last week.
I have nothing to add to the conversation besides prayers for these families and a heart that aches for the battle to be over.