Wow! Just finished “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle,” but my eyes are still not dry yet. That was an unexpected tear-jerker. Cried like a baby for a full five minutes after I put the book down. SPOILER ALERT: do no read any further if you intend to read this book (which I do recommend, just have a box of tissues next to you for the last few pages).
Ever since I had kids, I cannot read or watch anything where a child gets hurt or killed. It’s painful enough when you are not a parent, but once you have a child of your own, fuhgettaboutit. Siig (that’s my husband, everyone calls him by our last name, including me) and I watched the movie “Crash” when Kaiden was a few months old. Holy cow, did we bawl. We had to even stop the movie for a minute when it got too much to bear – the scene where you think the little girl is about to get shot protecting her dad, but then she doesn’t (thank God!).
Last year – or maybe it was two years ago (I can’t remember anything anymore) – we had the stupid idea of going to see “Pan’s Labyrinth.” I would never have made that mistake had I known the movie revolved around the suffering of a little girl and that, in the end, she gets killed. Well, this book made me think about that movie, if it’s any indication of the ending. (WARNING: if you are a dog lover, this book will make you shed a tear or two as well.)
I remember one time I a few years ago (again, time and memory seem to warp once children come along), I had just finished working out at the gym and was reading a story in Time about relatives of soldiers who had died in Iraq. I was standing in the middle of the gym looking at a photo of a mother grieving over the American flag-draped coffin of her son, and I just started crying then and there. I remember thinking, “How can people who have children create these awful wars?” I don’t understand. Maybe the testosterone gets in the way, or maybe moms are just more sensitive. All I know is that once I had a child, every child became my own. Because you know how you feel about your own children, you know how much every mother loves theirs. This is the ability to have compassion, empathy. And that is why I think the world would be a better, more peaceful place if only Moms were in power.
I know one thing: if had the Power, I would put Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld in a loooooooong Time-Out. One year for each year they’ve been alive. That would be 68 years for Dick “Waterboarding-is-not-Torture” Cheney. Not long enough.
Coincidence? I Think Not.
The day after I finished this post, I read this in Time Magazine. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first female African head-of-state and President of Liberia, was asked,”Do you think Africa will be peaceful and war-free if it has more women in leadership positions?”
Her answer: “I have no doubt about that. I think when women have equal qualifications, experience, capacities, they bring to the task a certain dimension that may be missing in men – a sensitivity to humankind. Maybe it comes from being a mother.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself. Or maybe I did?