I have heard it said that having a child it like taking your heart out of your body and sending it into the world. Suddenly, there is this being that you love more than life itself, and it's out there and small and fragile.
It took me a while before I had this feeling for the Koalid. I don't know if it took a while to sink in or if the helpless, noisy, poop factory just didn't register as human to me yet, but as she started to interact and then talk, I very much fell in love with her.
And that is the right term for it. Neurochemically, the love we feel for a child is that same as for a romantic partner except that it doesn't fade like romantic love does.
Normally things like mass shootings don't affect me personally. For whatever reason, death does not upset me. Even when my grandparents died, it didn't upset me greatly. Death just feels like they are moving on to another place, which is a thing you say to try to comfort someone, but that's what it actually feels like to me.
For some reason Orlando was different. Perhaps it is because I grew up around the LGBT community. More likely because in high school, college, and in my twenties, I was surrounded by the LGBT community, and many of the young women I knew were in that community. I imagine the Koalid growing up to hang out with the geeks and the queers, you know, the cool kids, which means that I can imagine the Koalid being at that club. And that means that I can imagine the 3 AM phone call.
This week, my mother-in-law became ill with pneumonia. She is in the hospital and the treatment is intensive, but she is expected to recover. However, somehow that news crossed up in my sleeping brain, and that night, I had a dream that my wife told me that the Koalid had died. My first thought, in the dream, was that I was going to have to tell everyone, and that they were all going to be very sad.
Tonight, I saw X-Men: Apocalypse. In one of the establishing scenes, Magneto has decided to try to live a normal life with a wife and daughter, but his powers are discovered, and in the course of things, his wife and daughter are killed by a stray arrow, causing him to go back to a life of super-villianery.
I am not normally a fearful person. I have faith that things will turn out as they should, but much of this week, I have had a fear. It's an irrational fear, of course, and I know that. I guess that some people would say they just want to hold their daughter tight and never let go, but I know that is no better. Smothering a child does not keep them safe, merely drives them towards a different kind of danger.
Perhaps it is a fear borne of a complete lack of control. I cannot keep her safe. By the grace of God she will be safe, but if it is His will that she not be, then there is nothing I can do. Such is the way of the world.
However, I very much identified with Magneto. I understand how a parent who loses a child in a bombing becomes "radicalized." If the Koalid were killed by the hand of another, there would be no hole deep enough for them to hide in, no army strong enough to protect them, and no punishment to great to pour my wrath out with.
God willing, these are merely the foolish ramblings come of having a night alone and watching a movie with a disturbing scene. The Koalid will grow strong and healthy, and I shall be here to guide and teach her for many years to come. But I certainly understand a bit more of my humanity tonight.