Friday, October 26, 2012

There But for the Grace of God Go I

I continue to perseverate over the stabbing deaths of two children by their nanny on the Upper West Side.

I can't stop. I try not to read the articles, yet I find my fingers typing "nanny stabbing UWS" into Google search. My heart flutters downward; I feel the slow creep of nausea coat the lining of my stomach. My breathing rate increases ever-so-slightly.

I don't know what I would do.

The family's blog, Little Miss Lucia, was pulled from its host. I breathe a guilty sigh of relief. I don't want to look at pictures of a family now irreparably shattered.

In some places, like Urban Baby, people are actually blaming the family for not recognizing that the  nanny was "crazy." I've also caught whiffs of the old Mommy Wars -- "should" a woman work or stay at home? As if somehow that matters one iota in this situation. As if such a despicable act could not have occurred in one scenario versus the other.

I know people are simply looking for ways to explain why this horrific scene could not have happened to them. I understand the psychology. The longing to believe that your own children are safe in your caretaker's hands. That such anguish would never be yours to suffer.

But such self-centered drivel is quite sickening to read in the face of true heartbreak and sorrow.

And then there's a lingering discomfort: Why don't I (we?) get this worked up when a three-year-old is shot in a Brooklyn project or a four-year-old is killed by a stray bullet on a Bronx playground? Why don't I obsess uncontrollably over the children being killed in Syria?

The truth is, I do hover on these articles and news clips longer than I probably should. Rayne sometimes has to pry my smartphone out of my hands at night. I cry over a lot of these stories even as I try to push them out of my head.

How else to move forward in this world but to assume tragedy will not befall your family?

But this... this feels different. It's so close. Literally and figuratively. As my friend Kate said, "I know kids die every day in every horrid way but this feels so uncomfortably 'there but for the grace of god...'"

I kiss my sweet sleeping baby, and my breathing becomes shallow again. My throat constricts; I drop tears onto his clean sheets, his new cotton sleep sack. I turn and leave his room, knowing in the depth of my soul, at the crux of my being, that something inside of me would have died, too.