No One Would Touch These Children -- But Someone Did

Those children. How can this have happened? How can this be real?
12/18/2012 06:58 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

What do we do? I mean, what will any of us do now?

Friday night was movie night. I snuggled under a blanket with my 5-year-old girl. She said to me, "Look, Mum-mum!" She had an orange wedge in her mouth, and she was looking up at me like she was the first person ever to make this joke. Her eyes sparkled like I'd probably never seen something so funny before. This was brilliant, jamming a slice of orange in her mouth and tapping me on the shoulder, her little voice barely masking laughter and muffled by the orange peel.

"Oh!" I exclaimed, like I was surprised, and I squealed with laughter and tipped over in my seat. It was so funny that I toppled right over.

And a wave of sickness and sorrow washed over me.

No. No, no, no, no, no. No one would ever hurt somebody like you. Darkness could never come after you. Not while the singular pearl of your innocence and beauty shines, fragile and sacred, inside of you.

A million times a day this happens.

The shape of her round little cheeks when she smiles. The quivering bravado of her big kid singing voice. Picking out her clothes and emerging from her room wearing a crazy combination of stripes and flowers and polka dots.

A million times a day, I see her; how perfect she is, how pristine and uncorrupt, and then it will hit me.

Those children. How can this have happened? How can this be real?

My kindergartener has never hurt anyone. She has never had a thought that wasn't immaculate and pure. She brings light with her, everywhere she goes. People smile at her. They tell her she is beautiful. They ask her things, questions about her day. Does she like school? Does she help mommy with her little sister? They marvel over her, whisper at me behind their hands, "She is SO adorable." They catch my eye, diamonds sparkling behind theirs to acknowledge me, just because I am lucky enough to be her mother. Sometimes, they grab my hand in the grocery store, patting my skin, moved to communicate, somehow, however they can, that the dancing beauty of my child stands out against the rest of the world, where everything is bleak and we're all lonely and scared. They get tears in their eyes, sometimes, when she speaks to them with her tiny bird's voice, the sound of it full of music, like a prayer.

My kindergarten girl isn't any different than any other child.

She simply is; and the universe conspires to love her, protect her and worship her. That is what she deserves. That is what all of our children deserve. People might hurt other people, they might do terrible things out there in the cold, but no one would touch the softness and light inside my little one; no one would dare disturb the innocence that falls all around her, everywhere she goes, like a blanket of sunlit, newly fallen snow. No one would touch these little children.

But someone did.

What do we do, now?