It was the worst night in recent history. It was the night the world reeled to learn that 20 first-graders and 6 adults at an Elementary School had been gunned down. It had been a day of tears and outrage, along with confusion and sorrow. It was also the day we had been given the news that we need to have my 8-year old go through an EEG, EMG and MRI to see why his head twitches regularly ever since Thanksgiving.
My husband and I know we need to talk to the boys about this tragedy. We just knew we needed to love them and have fun with them a little bit more before telling them anything about something so horrific. We have that privilege. We are removed enough that their innocence hasn’t been shattered like the poor children of Sandy Hook Elementary. Our boys will only know bits and pieces, and we will shield them as much as we can.
One of the pieces of advice I heard on my drive home from work, was to go about normal weekend plans. At our house, Friday is traditionally History & Geography Night.
So, Ben spun his globe to see what part of the world should be our focus. He landed on Newfoundland. Instantly he asked if we could do a two-for-one and learn more about New Zealand as well, since they both have the word New in their names. New Zealand is where Burt Munro of Land Speed Records on an Indian Motorcycle is from, and the boys are huge fans. So of course, we could learn about Newfoundland and New Zealand. Of course.
When we looked it up on the internet, we found that Newfoundland & Labrador is the name of the country. It already has a double in the name. And it is famous for Icebergs, among other things. We oohed and awed over pictures of icebergs until the boys started chanting quietly under their breath… “New Zealand, New Zealand, New Zealand.”
As cold as they seem, I still could have looked at these glorious pictures of nature’s stately giants for quite a bit longer.
But, we were on to New Zealand, where the first thing we did was search the tourism website for any mention of Burt Munro, and low and behold, we found the Annual Burt Munro Challenge Motorcycle Race! His hometown, Invercargill is a tourist hotspot for racers! There is merchandise and everything. My boys were coming unglued!
It would be a costly vacation. The Bonneville Salt Flats, in Utah, where Burt made his world record, seems an awful lot closer now in comparison.
And so was our Friday night, learning and exploring and hooting and hollering, like we always do. We had not yet confronted them with shooting deaths of Elementary School children. We still have not as of this writing. I know we need to. Somehow, I want to continue to focus on beauty, and that gets more difficult all the time.
(Update: on Saturday, we heard from Ben’s doctor, that the Pediatric Neurologist and his whole team, have agreed that what Ben has is a Benign Tick of Childhood, and is not serious, and requires no further testing. So there is one relief.)