I have a friend whose daughter is sick. Someday she will need a transplant.
I have an acquaintance, a professor I worked for once, who has to have brain surgery in a few days. She’s the single parent of a little girl.
Tonight I read a story for a class I’m teaching. The class is online, and the reading schedule is set by someone who is not me. Because I am behind, I didn’t read this story before my students had to write about it. It is about a toddler who is killed by a pot of boiling water that he pulls down onto himself. It is very imagistic. I am leveled by the single page I read. I am crushed that because I was not more on top of things, others have these same images in their heads. This includes a student who lost her toddler years ago. I did not warn her because I did not read ahead.
Like every parent before me, I have no fucking idea how to live with the vulnerability of parenthood. Something could happen to my children. On my watch or not. It’s a kind of death every time I let myself know this. It is suffocating.
There’s no lightness here tonight, folks. Just a quiet house and an unquiet mind.