Yesterday, my children got to have a real life educational experience as they watched me forget everything to watch the bizarre, unnerving events unfold at our Capitol.
They watched along, too, as our government and our fellow citizens exercised and abused most of our Constitution. I imagine by the end of January, we will all have a full tour of our Constitution, as well as some new-found knowledge in how bizarre everything is (I mean even the reading of the Electoral College votes during the joint session was very strange and endlessly repetitive, well minus the siege at the very start.)
I've seen lots of discussion on what we should tell our children about all these events and how do we tell our children how disappointing adults can be. And while everything that happened is truly historic (awful, disturbing, bizarre, unprecedented, shocking, all the adjectives). I did not wake up this morning thinking: How will I ever explain these hard things to my kids?
We've been keeping them in the loop all along. None of them are scared. None of them have anxiety about the future. They are fine. Kids can handle hard things--especially when we don't hide them.
I am not saying we need to disclose or share everything to our kids. I certainly do not tell them everything. But frankly, there is nothing our kids cannot ask us or discuss with us. If something is too much--I simply say things like: "That's a great question," or "That's really something for mommy and daddy to discuss."
And I know our family's life experience has forcibly changed how we protect our children from the real world. We've had to talk about cancer and children dying. We've had to teach them funeral etiquette. We've had to talk about organ donation. We've had to explain global pandemics (you have too). We've had to explain racial inequity. And now, we've explained riots and sieges and treason.
While these bad things are certainly not gifts, it has been a gift to be able to talk, explain and listen to our kids process the world around them. I've been forced to think beyond my emotions, in order to just share the facts with my kids and to conversely, tell my kids that somethings are just so sad that it is impossible to fully explain. I haven't had the luxury of protecting them from the world; and really, in the end, they are better for it. The traumas that have happened have not scarred them--they've given them wisdom and knowledge and insight. And they've learned that adults are not perfect, people can be disappointing, but above all people have this incredible ability to do good, even after bad. They've learned, I hope, that they can trust us with hard things. We are not easily disappointed or shaken or broken.
So, today, we kept talking about it. Then, we ate lunch together. We told some jokes. They started a strange puppy betting parlor for our dog Henry (who is walking around with dollar bills in his collar.). They laughed. We tried to recreate the look of that guy dressed like a terrifying goat by filling our Amazon cart. They pretended to do their school work. They ate all the snacks I just purchased 24 hours ago. And the world kept spinning.
Kids can handle hard things, as long as they have us to talk, too.
I don't have a picture for this one, so I'll leave you with Henry, the dog who bets:
Writer's Note: This blog is unedited, unproofed and depending on the day, unfiltered. Grammar police--you can get your fix elsewhere. I am just practicing my craft and crafts are always messy.