It's been one of those days. First I woke up to the fifth straight day and several consecutive weeks home with a sick child. Not the same sick child all the time. They've been taking turns, bless their pointed little heads. So I began the day at the end of my rope, and I very shortly fell completely off it (the rope, that is). My special-needs daughter, who was the one home this week, lost it in the bathtub, soaking me and the floor. I got angry enough to almost lose it myself. It was all I could do not to yell at her. We never yell at any of our kids, but especially not at her; it's counterproductive. We stay calm and explain consequences clearly. But somehow today I couldn't manage. I sent her to her room and then went downstairs and cried because I felt so awful about it.
The wonderful husband came home early so I could get a break. I decided to get out of the house, so i went to my community-garden plot, which is in a local cemetery. I thought a couple of hours of physical exertion, outside and with no kids anywhere near me, would set me back on my normal roll-with-the-punches track. But when I got there, this is what I found:
My little garden plot, which is fenced and gated to keep out deer, had been vandalized. The gate, which is never locked (because deer don't have opposable thumbs), was broken and knocked over. Fence posts were bent, things were strewn around. I was pretty upset, so I walked around the cemetery to calm myself down, get a little perspective on things. Which I did, but not in the way I had planned because I saw several headstones that had been knocked over. Worse and worse. So I decided to go back home, which was by then, seeming like a better choice because there, at least, I know and love the people who (occasionally) make me cry.
Then on the way home I heard about the second mass shooting in two days...
What sends us over the edge and into irrational, destructive, or violent behavior? For me today, why was this the day I couldn't manage what I normally manage without even thinking about it? What was it (liquor? drugs? hormones?) that made someone decide to destroy my sweet and harmless little garden or knock over somebody's mother's headstone? And what pushes a person who has never shot or killed anyone to suddenly open fire on strangers? I have no answers for any of this, but I do know that I hope tomorrow will be a better day for me, for you, for all of us.