This post is difficult to write. I should have a happy, playful theme for today, as it is the Seventh Anniversary of my starting off as a food blogger. Interestingly, too, it is also four months away from my anticipated completion date for culinary school, opening up a new chapter in my life as a food industry professional (at least, that’s what I’m hoping). I had a post lined up for Friday about how one of the joys of the holiday season is getting together and feeding your friends and loved ones and then a recipe included for a Southern party favorite, Ham Biscuits. Then, the AP alerts flashed on my iPhone. They wouldn’t stop.
When I looked down at them and saw what had happened in Newtown, CT, not far from where I live in New York City, I did something I never normally do during the daytime. I turned on the television. After the instantaneous incredulity of the news wore off, I started to cry, like so many others, my heart just torn apart. These are all our kids, even if we aren’t their biological parents. We are the proud aunties and uncles, the babysitters, the family friends, the godparents. For those of us who are the elder children, these are our younger siblings, the ones we are supposed to take care of and protect fiercely against bullies and bad people. No one is supposed to hurt them, much less take them away from us like that.
This past weekend in the city, I saw lots of children with their parents, shopping for the holidays and running their usual errands. Nothing really seemed usual about it, though, the sadness just hung in the air. A mom cradled her school-aged son on the subway, stroking his cheek and tossling his hair. A father held his tiny daughter’s hand just a little bit tighter as she toddled alongside him walking through the neighborhood. A mother strolling with her three children alongside Central Park kept her arms wrapped around all of them at the same time as best she could, pulling them close to her.
I’ve tried to sit down and write something about this for a few days now, but I haven’t been able to find the right words to express how I feel about what happened, much less the words to talk about food. So many others are able to do this better than I. Most of my nieces and nephews are elementary or pre-school age, with the exception of a couple of them. I wish I could gather them all up and give them a big hug to let them know that it will all be o.k., that this is not normal, and that they do not have to live in fear that something like this will happen to them, especially not when they go to school.