Our impending move has been doing great things for my social life. Suddenly, people we haven't seen in months are clamoring to get together one last time before we're gone. And last night we got to chat with almost every member of our shul, at a big farewell party for our junior rabbi, who has decided to switch careers, in an effort to spend more time with his remaining limbs. Or maybe that was the Care of Magical Creatures teacher, sorry.
So, with all the fun stuff, I was surprised to find myself flopping back and forth, fretting and sighing in the middle of the night. What had me awake wasn't the packing or logistics, or anything to do with us, really. I was thinking about a family thousands of miles away
, and how their lives had changed in a single afternoon from an unpredictable tragedy.
I've always been kind of a free-range parent
, believing that experience is the best teacher. I let The Kid climb trees and rocks, play in the backyard by himself while I make dinner, and run around in the park with his friends, even behind trees where I can't see them for 30 seconds at a time. It's not always easy, since, let's face it, he's a small boy and his judgment isn't always the best. He gets scrapes and bruises, bee stings, fights and collisions. But I want him to learn that he can cope with these things.
What I kept replaying over and over in my head last night was the fact that this sweet little boy disappeared on the first day his parents had allowed him to walk home by himself.
He knew the way. He'd done the route for weeks, with a parent. He asked for them to trust him, and they did. They didn't realize he was also asking them to trust in the basic decency of humanity.
What must the world look like, when your trust is betrayed in the worst possible way? How can they ever feel safe in this world again? I kept The Kid on a shorter leash than usual at the shul picnic last night, but I know my anxiety is temporary. Theirs is forever. My heart and my prayers go out to them, and to their whole community. Baruch Dayan Emet.