Thursday, February 24th, 2011 • 8 Comments on Putting Reality On Hold
There was a time when I followed politics and current events. Not so much anymore. Oh, I know what’s going on in Egypt and Libya, about the ridiculous vote by the U.S. House of Representatives to end federal funding to Planned Parenthood, about President Obama renouncing the definition of marriage, about the earthquake in New Zealand, about crazy politicians who want to criminalize miscarriage. I know the headlines, I suppose. The big stuff. Which (sad to say) is more than many people know. (True story: A Facebook friend posted as her status, “I don’t know what’s going on in Egypt, but it looks scary!”)
What I don’t know are the nuances, the details that can only be had by reading multiple news sources and gleaning information from different perspectives. Somewhere in the past two years I’ve let my political and current events reading fall by the wayside. I know what precipitated it—pregnancy. I stopped watching the news all together when I was pregnant with Patrick—too many tragic stories that would turn me into a weeping puddle of maternal mush—and reading newspapers and news sites quickly fell by the wayside with a newborn. Then I simply never returned to it.
I feel guilty sometimes, not knowing as much as I should about world events. I’m a parent now, I feel as if I should know what’s going on in the world so I can protect my child(ren). But knowledge doesn’t necessarily give me that kind of ability, does it? No, sometimes knowledge is not power. Sometimes knowledge about the big scary world outside my front door only brings worry and fear. And as I find myself back in the realm of hormonal pregnant women, the last thing I need on my mind when I go to bed at night are the tragedies of the world. I’m a coward like that when my hormones are ricocheting about like pinballs in a game.
And though it pains me to admit it, parenthood has cracked my hard exterior and made me a marshmallow when it comes to tragedy. Stories about children, in particular, will leave me in tears. I just cannot take that raw, exposed nerve-ending feeling and so I hide from the bad stuff and gravitate toward laughter and sunshine. The same is true of fiction, as well. I nearly lost it just watching the trailer of Rabbit Hole. Making me sit through the movie would be cruel and unusual punishment.
By the end of summer, I will be responsible for two young lives in this world. I know at some point I will pick up the newspapers and news magazines again, add the news sites to my favorites again, watch the local news and national news on a regular basis again. It’s my responsibility as a parent to know what is going on so I can make the best decisions for my little ones. But for now, for the next six months or maybe even a year, I’m going to revel in laughter and sunshine and baby smiles and tummy flutters.