Sunday, November 11, 2007

Fishbowl of Tears

Today I took The Boy to the children's museum, and they have a great art studio. Each day they have some appropriately-themed project for the kids to do, based on a famous artist's birthday, etc. So today, for Veterans' Day, they have this very nice, respectful project of "decorating a brick." The brick walls outside the museum are being decorated by brick-sized pieces of plastic vinyl that the kids decorated in honor of veterans in their families.

Now to the fishbowl reference. If you didn't have a veteran in your family to honor, you could draw a name from the fishbowl. A fishbowl, sitting on the counter, filled with tiny slips of paper, on which are written horrifying things like "John Smith, 22, Private First Class, May 12, 2007." I felt sick. That bowl is full of the names of poor young men and women who DIED, most of them probably in Iraq.

I fully believe they should be honored, and I thought it was a great project. But those people shouldn't be DEAD!!! I didn't know how to explain it to The Boy. Since he can't read yet, it kind of went over his head. We've been talking about soldiers and Army stuff lately, and he has a very light understanding of what soldiers do. They talked about Veterans' Day at school, and we've talked briefly as well. I feel like I missed a teachable moment, but I just can't start talking to him about Iraq. Not yet. He has so many awful grown-up things ahead of him to worry about, I just want his innocence to continue for a while...


bubandpie said...

Wow, this post connects with your comment at my place in strange ways. I kind of feel like saying, shouldn't there be a period of time during which boys can pick up sticks and pretend they're guns without having to be confronted with the reality of 22-year-old boys dead in a foreign land?

MamaDrama said...

Yes, yes and YES!! The 1950s thing where boys grew up playing "Army guy" has a completely different connotation now. I'm just thankful every day that he's not close to 18, or we'd be trying to move up north with you.