"Well, I'm in my jeans, but I can get in my cozy pants real quick." That's what Henry said when I talked to him after workshop, a ridiculous and short little conversation about Webkinz and sweat pants. I couldn't say anything to him about what I was feeling, yet I wanted to reach through the phone and feel his face against my hand.
No matter what I know about how illogical it is to think that my distance from my kids is any better or worse in light of the terrible news out of Connecticut, I have felt displaced and discombobulated all day. Grabby. Needy. Anxious. Unable to answer questions or laugh at the appropriate points in conversation. There's no sense in thinking that my being at home or their being at home with me does anything for anyone's real safety, yet it feels suddenly--and so powerfully so--like that matters.
I had a good morning here, and a nice meeting with the creator of Goodreads. I was floating on a cloud of blissful self-importance when I came back to my hotel room and switched on NBC. And then this thing messed me up with its real and terrible heft. I couldn't watch for long. The images of little kids following each other out of the school with hands on each others' shoulders as a teacher supervised were too vivid. I can't see those things and keep myself from putting myself in the teacher's position as she puts her life on the line for those kids. And then the parents. I can't help but imagine myself in the mother's shoes, howling into a cell phone, falling to the ground. Yet I don't presuppose to know anything of either of those lives. The images are tricky and fraught with complication.
I love my kids. I love the kids I teach too, and the thought of my responsibility for so many other lives on a regular basis overwhelms me. Life is fragile. Whatever I did here in this hotel in this resort town today now seems kind of silly.