"Do you need to find your calm space?" I ask.
At which point he completely melts, tears streaming down his face.
Giving him a minute to calm down, I kneel so that I'm eye-to-eye with him and tell him that he's loved. As he collapses into my arms, She-Beat comes over to offer him a hug. In an instant Grey is there too. Wrapped in a group hug, I can feel the shudders dissipate.
"We are family," Grey tells them. "We will make it be okay."
One of the hardest things about this past week is figuring out how to explain all that has happened to the Beats. To children in general. There's been the old advice to leave adult matters to the adults, sheltering them as best we can from all of this. But having grown up in an era where this was the norm, I know this tends to have the opposite effect as children are much more aware then most people give them credit for.
So the question becomes what exactly to tell them. How to explain what is happening in a world we don't fully understand ourselves. And that is where I'm at a loss.
The truth is, I'm terrified of what is to come. I struggle to fully understand how we found ourselves in the situation at hand. All the news coming in at the moment continues to leave me reeling and as much as I want it, the added salt in the wounds has inhibited any healing from happening. There's the additional factor that emotions are still extremely high with a lot of infighting. Combine this with acts of violence and we've got quite a storm.
The past few days I've begun hunting for some sage advice about all of this. Trying to find something that I can use as a foundation for starting these conversations. A recent post by Shreve Stockton has helped. Particularly an email she shares from a friend.
"Several weeks ago my partner said she saw Trump as a heyoka (Lakota clown who mirrors the dark side). The heyoka’s role is to illuminate the shadow and ultimately help the people. In my prayer this morning, in despair at the election, I got back immediately that you do not engage the heyoka. You stay seated on the ground and you do not give into the fear that the heyoka creates. Stay in your prayer. Stay out of speculation. These just feed that kind of energy.
I got very strongly that the best medicine for us as a people is to keep our homes peaceful and calm, to engage in our community, to do all the small things that make up a good life, to remain kind and thoughtful, to stay in our prayer. We are part of the nurturing, and we have no idea how many of our small acts are helping other people, who go on to do other small acts. Strong community, strong neighborhood, strong households."On the heels of this was a post from Lisa about her email to her daughter.
"My job is to set an example for you and teach you to be a good person. I will stand up for you, your dad, and others whenever I can. I'm not entirely sure what that looks like right now, but I hope that by the time you are reading this you can tell me I'm doing a good job. I'm not going to lie, I'm scared. I'm an introvert and I hate confrontation. It makes for an interesting combo. "Grey also reminded me last night that we've already been doing this. For almost 10 years, I haven't felt safe in my own home. Cyrol has been a big factor with this, but so has living in a neighborhood with active prostitution and crime (our parking spot was a favorite for the girls to take their clients, evident each evening by the used condoms). And there's the fact that we also lived next door to a man who was convicted of raping his 16 year old daughter. Until this past year, I could not answer "yes" to the question "do you feel safe in your own home" that my health care providers routinely ask.
Given all of this, I'm slowly starting to piece together that all of this is going to require baby steps. That there are going to be days that I fuck up royal if not flat out fail. And yet, not trying is not an option. Too much is on the line. The Beats need me to be a model and to create something of a foundation so that they too can do the work that is required of them.
Still, there are many moments I wish we didn't have to do this. That I could instead go back to assuming that the majority of the world isn't as scary as the bubble I believed I solely lived in.