It is 4:30 am and once again my muse has come storming into my dreams, rousing me from a restless slumber. The 4th of July has always been my least favorite holiday, but this year its ratings have sunk even lower, if such a thing is possible.
Boo and the dogs are not fans of noisy holidays where people with small minds set off big booms. None of us slept well on the night of the 4th. I could hear Boo thumping about in his room and the dogs were pressed closed to my side, panting. The hedgehogs ran nervously on their wheels. Nothing about that night was restful. The next morning I got Boo up and put him on the bus. He seemed a bit sleepy and out of it. Then, I went to meet a favorite friend for brunch where we animatedly discussed all the woes of the world and how, if given the power and the means, we would solve them.
I got home about two minutes ahead of the bus. The bus door slid open, and Boo staggered off the bus. He looked very much like someone who was trying hard not to have a seizure. The Topamax, which controls his seizures, also keeps him from sweating and regulating his body temperature. He seemed both hot and cold at the same time. A note from his teacher wondered if he felt well, as he had been very quiet all day. He asked for a freezie from Taco Bell and I got us each one. He slammed his, then slammed mine, went into his room, pulled the covers over his head and descended into a very deep sleep. He woke up only vaguely for his evening meds and the returned to his torpor. It is now nearly 12 hours later and all I hear from him are snores. I do not think we will send him to school today. His body is too over stressed, and as a mom, I am too upset and angry at the world to send him out in it.
How can we as Americans say that we live in the land of the free? I do not feel free, and I certainly do not feel brave. I don’t feel free because my reproductive system is governed by old white men who have not the foggiest idea of how female anatomy works. (No, one cannot just reimplant an ectopic pregnancy.) I do not feel brave because my son could not go to school last week because of a dangerous presence in the neighborhood. I do not feel brave because people in Chicago could not safely attend a 4th of July parade without death and mayhem. I do not feel brave because somewhere out there, there is a two-year-old, a toddler with light up squeaky shoes, who has lost his parents, who only wanted to take him to see the parade. Because of a fanatical tRump supporter, he will grow up an orphan. People say he is too young to remember what happened, but trust me, at a cellular level, he will always know. What is so brave about taking up a sniper position on a roof and mowing down innocent citizens? On July 2, I was driving home from a wonderful trail race. I pulled up behind a massive pickup truck with multiple pro police stickers all over the rear. The most disturbing sticker was the one that said, “God bless our armed troops, especially the snipers”. I don’t normally swear, but WTF? Who in their right mind would praise a sniper? And two days later, a sniper climbed to the top of a Chicago building and did his worst. Needless to say, I gave that truck a wide berth, but it was an eerie omen of worse things to come.
My muse cannot sleep when she is outraged, and trust me friends, she is outraged. Furious at people who send off big booms and scare my child and dogs. Furious at old white men who refuse to take their feet off the necks of women. Furious that people could not go to a parade and then go home in peace, rather than in a body bags. I sit in my kitchen, in my favorite chair. I have a mug of coffee. My dogs are asleep at my feet. My hedgehogs are playing under my arms and behind my back. But this is only an illusion of peace because I am thoroughly disillusioned. “Know justice, no peace. No justice, no peace.” Trite, but true. We will not have peace until we have justice. We will not have peace until we have banned guns and secured the rights of women, of POC, of our trans allies. We will not have peace, and I will not rest. I am just one mom screaming out her injustice into the void. I don’t have power or political connections. But I can love fiercely and deeply. Like Meg, in A Wrinkle in Time, who used her love to overthrow forces of evil, I call out for more love in the world. Hate only brings more hate. We have to learn how to love again. This does not mean that we are passive, but rather, active. Be an activist, write, march, speak, even when your voice trembles. We should be able to love our country and not fear our government. Like any mom, I should be able to send my children to school and welcome them safely home at the end of the day. But these privileges are not ours for the asking. So, I ask you to join me. Join my voice of outrage and betrayal and love. Speak out against injustice even when it is easier to remain silent. Do it for Boo, do it for the orphaned two-year-old in Chicago. Do it for all the parents who lost their children to gun violence when all they did was send them to school in the morning. My muse will not stand by quietly, will you?