Me holding daughterI was never much of a crier. That is, until I became a parent. Now I cry at even the most mundane of occurrences. The common thread, usually, is that it has something to do with children. 50 months ago, the lens through which I view the world changed forever. Most of what I observe and experience is taken in as a parent. When I see children in pain or suffering, I react internally as if it was one of my own. I then think of my own child – and how I want to protect her, to shield her, to somehow put some kind of bubble over her to block out the world.

My daughter is not old enough to know what’s going on in the world today, and I’m thankful for that. I’m not quite ready to somehow process it all for her, as I can’t always process it for myself. I do play through the scenarios in my head – I have practiced many of the big “talks” that I may or may not have to have as she becomes older and more aware. Right now, those conversations are limited things like the wonders of nature. I tend to approach my answers matter of factly. I made a conscious decision to give the answers as I know them, versus creating some magical explanation. Granted, this sometimes backfires and causes even more confusion (I actually used the word salient the other day…what 4-year old knows the word salient?)

So, recent events has made me wonder how I will respond should I eventually get the question “Why do bad things happen?” or some variation. I’ve always been a deeply spiritual person, and while how my spirituality manifests has changed as I have gotten older, I still firmly believe in a power and energy that is greater than and connects all of us, past present and future. I don’t believe in destiny…I don’t believe that certain things are “meant to be” or in the concept of God’s will. I do believe that the more in tune we are to our spiritual side, the greater clarity we might receive, but I believe we are ultimately responsible, to some extent, for our own path. I believe that the “price” we pay for free will is that chance that someone else will exercise it in a way that impacts our own. I believe that without tragedy, we don’t experience triumph. Without adversity, we don’t experience accomplishment. Without sorrow and tears, we don’t experience joy and laughter. Some of our greatest stories of heroism and selflessness come out of our darkest hours. Yes, bad things happen, but so do fantastic wonderful things.

I’m not sure how I’d pull all that together into an answer. I guess I hope I will have a while longer before I need to figure that out. I want to believe my daughter can hang on to her innocence and idealism for as long as possible. And maybe I’ll allow a little more magic into my explanations for questions like why are there stars in the sky. I’ll let her revel a while longer in the mystical before the happenings of the world around her make that impossible. And maybe, if I look through her lenses instead of my own now and then, I can get some magic too.