Aaaaand scene.

This is real life with my 5 year old daughter (the bean). Context: I recently got a terrible sunburn across my back and shoulders – the first I’ve had in a decade, probably – and she had just fallen on a wet rock in our front garden, skinning her knee.

Bean: Ugh, I wish I could make scabs happen.

Me: What?

Bean: It stings so bad! But it will feel fine when it scabs, and I wish it was a scab now.

Me: Ahh, got it. Yeah, well, wait a day or so and you’ll get your scab. We have bandaids in the meantime.

Bean: You know what would be great? If I could use the pieces of skin that are peeling off your sunburn and stick it on my knee and make a scab right now.

Me: …with my skin?

Bean: Yes.

Me: …that’s among the grossest things you’ve ever said.

Bean: It would work! I’d just stick your peely skin on my knee and it would be like a scab but right away. Can we do that?

Me: No. I’m gagging.

Bean: It’s a good idea, Mom.

Me: Actually, here’s a medical thing called skin grafting that is sort of similar to that, I guess. Like, you take a thin layer of skin off your butt or leg or wherever and cover the damaged part of your body with it. Like if you were in a fire and had a serious burn.

Bean: What!?! THAT is gross. Does it hurt? THEY USE SKIN FROM YOUR BUTT?

Me: Sometimes, but a doctor does it and I think the person is asleep. Frozen, at least. We are not doing that, by the way.

Bean: Wow.

Me: Do you want a bandaid?

Bean: Yeah. I do.

Oh, What a World

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is a post I wrote several weeks ago and left incomplete. I wanted to add a sense of hope and a call to action, honestly, but got stuck. It’s been sitting in my drafts for a while, and I think it’s time to let it go and publish it. I still have no answers, but at least I’m talking. Bear with me!

. . .

Oh hey there you, it’s been a while. Summertime, and the living is easy, right? Except not at all, because the kids are off school and work is really busy and I am a woman, not a machine. Please, send coffee (and a housekeeper).

Is it just me, or has the world gone crazy lately? Yeah, I’m jumping right into that. THERE IS NO TIME FOR SMALL TALK, FRIENDS. And no, it’s not just me, though it’s easy to feel alone when any time you hear or read the news, you end up yelling inside until your guts ache. Fun fact: when you yell out loud on a regular basis, you’re “crazy”, and nobody listens. If you yell on the inside, you’ll stress yourself sick. And if you simply push your head into the sand and ignore everything that’s going on, you’re blissfully unaware – but your apathy will kill others like me, slowly but surely, because quite frankly: if you aren’t helping to solve a problem in society, you’re contributing to it.

Wow, that got dark fast.

I do this thing where I stay up really late, by myself, reading or watching late night television until my eyes burn or the clock hits an outrageous number that forces me to bed. It’s the impossible goal of postponing the next day, ripe with responsibility and the unknown. And lately, the unknown has felt a little awful. Sure, I wake up in a lovely house with a beautiful family. We have food in the fridge and cars in the driveway, friends we can call, and plenty to be thankful for. But looking outside the safety of my bubble, it’s madness.

There has always been political unrest around the globe, but most times, it’s seemed far away. Close enough to make us care, but not so close that we think much about the effect on our own communities. We feel genuine empathy and donate money or volunteer, and then we go back to our safe, warm beds and turn on Netflix. But as weeks and months go on, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to pretend that nothing is happening.

Recent tragedies abroad have broken my heart. France is but one of many countries affected by a horrific act of terrorism, taking innocent lives and leaving a permanent mark on so many lives. And do you want to get me started about refugees? Probably not, unless you’re ready for a long, sad diatribe about how nobody cares and humanity is falling apart. Not exactly light summer conversation, I know. But the truth hurts, and so does my heart.

Taking in all of the happiness in my world, I worry so often that it is fleeting. Furthermore, I feel a constant, low buzz of guilt knowing how much (white, middle class, Canadian) privilege I truly have, and that I’ll never truly understand the suffering that others face on a daily basis.

So I enjoy the little things – sunny days, swimming in the lake, ice cream with my kids, a long walk with my husband, stupid articles on the internet, my job, a great book, my comfortable bed and safe home – and I try to breathe.

I’ll stop, and take it all in, and appreciate it. But I won’t stop thinking about the rest of them. I can’t – and I hope I’m not alone. Because France and Syria and Libya may seem distant and surreal, but America is only only a stone’s throw away, and that shit is going down whether we like it or not.