Saturday, December 15, 2012

Baking the Morning After


It is the morning after and I am baking.

28 families in Newtown, Connecticut are making funeral arrangements, 20 of them for small children who did not live to see Christmas this year.

And I am baking.

My mind keeps churning over the news. My thoughts reel back to Columbine and watching the news that night with my hand to my throat and the tears rolling down my face. This morning as I read the online newspaper, my hand went immediately to my throat and the tears started again.

And I am baking.

My wonderful, beautiful daughter-in-law Alise mirrored my thoughts on her Facebook post last night and I would repost her words here if I could. But Facebook is balking so I am able only to summarize them. (I will post Alise's moving words in a separate post in the next day or two when Facebook decides to cooperate.) Alise cried out to us to focus on the children who were killed, not on the killer and what made him tick. Forget him. What Alise wanted to know is what the children's favorite colors were, could they tie their shoes, what games they liked to play. Alise wanted us all to remember these were children, with the little things that make up a child's life: a favorite book, a stuffed animal, a song sung in class.

And I am baking, filling the house with the scent of biscotti, wondering what cookies those children liked and whether they had yet done any holiday baking with their mothers, their fathers, their grandparents.

I think of Ramona as I roll the dough with my hands. When Ben was a little boy, there was the Cleveland School shooting in Stockton, California, where we lived at the time. We were horrified. And then came Padukah. And Columbine. Yet despite that violence—violence at a school—I still sent Ben and Sam off each day with my biggest worry being a traffic accident.

Those were just random acts of violence, I thought at the time. But increasingly, they are not. And as I look at Ramona in all her three-month old glory, I fear her parents live in a world—in this country, for God's sake—where they will send her to school someday and pray she not be gunned down in her classroom while she recites her ABCs.

And I am baking.

In Making Piece, Beth Howard wrote: "In those late autumn days, as winter approached, all I did was bake. With each push of the rolling pin...my soul was soothed and my heart mended a little more."

It is the day after Newtown and I am baking.

4 comments:

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Sharon said...

April,
I made cookies all day long too. With each batch of cookies, I thought about all those children and the teachers/principal/counselor who all tried to save their lives. My heart is broken, not just for this particular act of violence, but for every past violence. My thoughts go immediately to the sniper that attacked our area, Virginia Tech, Columbine (which seems so long ago now). It's a frightening world.

see you there! said...

Perhaps I need to bake something. I've had such a heavy heart the last few days. As Sharon says, it is a scary world indeed.

Darla

Jackie said...

I think I need to do some baking. I can't seem to find any peace and the tears keep flowing. I have a 1st grader and this horror could happen right here. I am heartbroken for those families who lost their children and for the families of the teachers and principal. I am heartbroken for our country.

Thanks for this post.
Jackie