This morning moved with a different kind of energy. One not our own. I had a meeting to attend, and two children to dress, feed and take with me. During this process, I caught wind of some news. Shots had been fired in my small hometown. Suspects were on the loose, possibly near my old elementary school. School was delayed and later canceled. Before I reached my morning meeting I had already made three calls: one to my mother, one to take care of a pressing home repair, and one to warn I'd be late.
By the time we reached our destination, Audrey and I were not quite our selves. I was heeding my phone more than usual, waiting for news and a return call to set up an appointment with a repairman. Audrey had lost her ability to play. She saw a young child playing with a toy she thought inappropriate for a "baby" (read: she wished to have it) and quickly began performing her best audition for the new Nightmare on Elm Street. I had never seen her resort to that sort of ear-numbing, dog howl-provoking, octave-shattering, nonstop screeching. I didn't quite know what to do with myself. Or her. So I put her out on the porch at the patio table (within view, mind you) and told her (in words too rushed, too loud, and too harsh) to regroup.
I would love to tell you that we got home and the day magically took a sunny turn. But while mothers in my hometown asked (unanswered) if criminals had been apprehended and backyards were safe for play, Audrey took to our backyard and found a new nemesis. She had requested a snack on the new princess child-sized patio furniture her Grammy had given her for Easter. (After her tone returned to one of the appropriate amount of respect garnered by adults) I complied. The wind did not. The sun umbrella blew away. Chairs overturned. Her snack was knocked (repeatedly) to the ground. "No, wind!" I heard her scream.
I decided we both needed to take some time away to seek out the world's porch, so to speak. We grabbed our old library books and headed to the door. The phone rang. I was told the repairman could come early. I asked if it was possible for him to come at our already appointed time. We had an errand we needed to run. Then off we went to one of our home bases - the library. After grabbing a handful of Paulette Bourgeois' Franklin books we returned to our couch, snuggled in and had a little read. Finally, page by page, we found our way back (back from a busy Easter weekend and a clumsy morning). Back to a rhythm that was ours.
We cannot stop the world. But we can stop ourselves. And, sometimes we must, to find our way back to our own paths, or we just might find ourselves screaming into the wind.
*I have been informed that three of the five people involved in the shooting incident this morning have been apprehended. While all reports assure that no one was hurt, I am sure there are some mothers who would disagree, who spent the day grasping their children, feeling innocence take another step away. (And, I fear, that in thirty years some fifty-something individuals will wish they could shake their former, younger selves for foolish mistakes made).