My head hurt badly, the ache stretching from the base of my head down through my neck and into my shoulders, but I sat next to the tub regardless and scrubbed my daughter clean after a day of pre-school and playing in the park with her friend, Alanna. We performed the usual...bum, back, and belly...but we skipped the miniscule chore of washing her hair. I don't know why. I just didn't feel up to it. We washed her hair last night, so the task didn't feel urgent. I was distracted. She's surprisingly cooperative at any time, but particularly at bath and bedtime, and wrapping things up quickly was an easy task. We rushed through her bath but I had to pause while drying her off. I had to pause and steal a hug. Something struck me hard and my eyes grew moist. Our home had never felt like more of a safe asylum, light years away from all the trauma unfolding in Boston.
Zoey asked me what was wrong and so I told her. She was quiet, and I'm certain, unsure of what that information meant, and how she should respond. There were a few questions but not many. She was just excited to jump into bed, and excited for her Dad to continue reading Harry Potter. She grabbed her owl and pulled the sheets up over her shoulders, smiling, and waiting for her goodnight kiss, unaware that this is the world that she is inheriting...that these are the things that human beings do to one another in this twenty-first century. Instead, she hugged a plush owl named Flitterwick, and was excited for a night of Hogwarts imagining. It was then that it struck me. There is still magic left in this world, and not all of it is crowding the pages of books. Some of it was in that bath tub, or that park, or pre-school...some of it, we saw, was on that street in Boston where so many people rushed to help strangers. As I finished the chapter to the sound of gentle and exhausted sighs, and then finally muffled snoring, I kissed her on the cheek and I remembered Dr. King's soothing words, "darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that." He was right.
Funny, I don't have a headache anymore, but I do feel a dull ache stretching down to my heart. It's not a bad world, but it's most definitely a sad one. Someday it will be hers, if it isn't already, and it will be her job to find the magic that isn't in her books. It's there, sometimes you just have to towel it off, and tuck it in, but it's there.