Friday, February 10, 2012

Fifteen Minutes of Fame

Esten brought me the paper in bed this morning.  I sleepily cracked open my eyes as I heard the familiar crinkling of newsprint hovering next to my head, my bearings thrown by the bouncing weight of his body up and down, up and down, half on my pillow, half on my boob, squishing it between his bony, unforgiving knee and the mattress.

"Mom, wake uuuup!  I'm famous today!"

My finally alert eyeballs focused on his early morning offering.  Sure enough, there he was, along with a group of his classmates, running out to recess, some holding hands, a girl doing a cartwheel, all of them captured in a moment of ecstatic expression.  Bliss.  There was no article, just a photo along with a caption for the front page.  But still...this was BIG TIME.

I really love~love~love that the boys are holding hands!
(Lewiston Morning Tribune/Steve Hanks)

There is a bitter-sweetness in this situation.  To put it in perspective, our small-town rag serves a combined community population of about 60,000 people.  Between Hubs and I, our insider knowledge of actual local events leaves us understanding just how often the paper both MISreports a story or just doesn't report a story altogether.  To be frank, if it were softer it would have a far better use in our bathroom than being considered a source for any sort of accurate information.  We prefer to get our news from more reliable sources, his favorite being Howard Stern and mine Jon Stewart or Chelsea Handler.

But here was Esten and his friends, smack dab in the middle of the page.  After smothering his sunshine grin with congratulatory kisses and equally consoling little brother who quickly proclaimed to be "excited about today until five minutes ago when Esten got famous but not me", I looked at the rest of the front page.  It was covered with AP News articles about the No Child Left Behind Act, people who planned to protest at the funerals of the Powell boys because they blame Washington Governor Gregoire for supporting gay marriage and say their deaths are her fault, and a story about a lady who wrote a book on how kids today don't know as much as kids from 50 years ago.  Bummerville all the way around them.

How metaphorically fitting for these kiddos to be put in the middle of what chaos the grownups make in their world, yet they go happily unaware of sad tragedies, unrelenting hatred, and political backstabbing.  This tangible paper I hold in my hand today is so representative of how I as a parent try to protect my children from all the things in life that are swirling-twirling like an evil smoke in the periphery, awaiting their old-enoughness to understand.  To me, the thought of that unknown future date in time when the children in the photo will stop running down that hill, learn of the things they share that front page with, and soak in and understand and grieve the horribleness of what some grownups do - those adults they are being told now are always right or smarter or to-be-trusted...well, I think that day is just as grievous as the actual events those headlines represent.

For today I will more fully appreciate the loving, unknowing, unhating nature of my children.  I love that about them, especially with this photo, which clearly shows they think nobody's watching.  The adults of this world could sure learn a lot from first graders.

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